A Florida woman killed her disabled husband after he filed for divorce. Now, she will spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Recently, Palm Beach County Judge Scott Suskauer sentenced Joan Burke to 35 years in prison for the stabbing death of her husband Melvin Weller, 62. Four months after her arrest, Burke pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
On Feb. 11, Palm Beach police responded to the couple’s Florida home on Anna Lane after receiving a distress call from Weller’s step-son, who found the victim in a large pool of blood. When police arrived, while Weller’s body lay on the kitchen floor, investigators discovered blood splatter and smears on the kitchen cabinets and walls, which indicated a struggle between the duo.
In addition, several knives and a meat cleaver were found in the kitchen sink.
However, family members told investigators Weller had been physically disabled with challenges to walk and incapable of grabbing on to things firmly.
Next, officers found the 62-year-old Burke quietly lying on the bed in the master bedroom with cuts on her hands. The defendant remained silent and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Later, she was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
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Authorities believe the motive for the killing stemmed from a divorce proceeding filed by Weller in December.
According to WPBF, Weller’s divorce lawyer, Nicole Hamil-Scott, told authorities there had been a dispute worth millions of dollars in real estate between the duo, which had to be divided under Florida law. As a result, she had just outlined some terms to the defendant’s lawyer a week before the brutal killing.
An autopsy report established Weller was stabbed over 140 times across his body, including a fracture to the right rear of his head caused by the meat cleaver.
Burke’s defense lawyer, Craig Lawson, requested a one-week furlough for his client to spend time with her family since her sentence was equivalent to a life term due to her age, reported The Palm Beach Post.
Suskauer denied the motion.
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