The attorney for the victim of a brutal stabbing says there was a divorce pending and a splitting of assets looming.
The pending divorce and division of assets may have been the motive behind the murder of the physically disabled Palm Springs man.
62-year-old Melvin Weller had filed for divorce from his long-time wife, 61-year-old wife, Joan Burke, in late December, according to court records. The couple had millions of dollars in real estate, which would need to be divided.
Two months after Melvin Weller filed for divorce, Palm Springs Police arrived at his home February 11th, to find Weller lying in a pool of blood that covered more than half of the kitchen floor. An autopsy revealing Weller had been stabbed 140 times, and he also had a skull fracture caused by a blow from a meat cleaver. Police say they discovered Weller’s 61-year-old wife, Joan Burke, with cuts on her hands and not saying a word.
Attorney Nicole Hamil-Scott was handling divorce proceedings for Weller. She says one item of possible dispute: millions of dollars in real estate that under Florida law would have to be divided.
And a Palm Springs woman is charged with first degree murder after police say she stabbed her husband more than 140 times and bludgeoned him in the head with a meat cleaver.
Joan Burke, 61, is being held without bond and appeared before a Palm Beach County judge on Sunday via video conference, according to court documents.
In an incident report, officers with Palm Springs Police said they responded to Burke’s home on the evening of February 11 after receiving a call from a man who identified himself as the suspect’s son.
He explained that he found the body of his stepfather, Melvin Weller, 62, lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood.
Police said Weller had multiple stab wounds and lacerations on his body and they noticed blood splatters and smears on the walls, cabinets, and counters of the kitchen. A couple of knives and a meat cleaver were found in the kitchen sink, police said.
The victim’s family said Weller was physically disabled at the time of his death.
During a sweep of the home, officers discovered Burke lying in a bed in the master bedroom, conscious, alert but silent, according to the report.
She was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation and to treat lacerations on her hands.
Police executed a search warrant and reportedly recovered a garbage bag containing a blood-stained nightgown belonging to the suspect and a cellphone which investigators think belonged to the victim, according to the report.