South Bend woman arrested for fatally stabbing husband

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- A 58-year-old South Bend woman has been arrested and charged with felony Voluntary Manslaughter for stabbing her husband just after midnight the morning of March 26. 

Court documents show that Vicki Brantley called 911 for medical assistance for her husband at their home in the 1400 block of Miami Street in South Bend. 

When authorities arrived, Brantley told them her husband Robert Brantley had been out with friends, then came home and fell out of the bed.

"When South Bend officers arrived, they tended to Robert, who was found unresponsive and laying partially on the bed," court documents state. "In the process of doing CPR, officers noted that there was blood around an apparent stab wound in Robert's chest."

Medics declared Robert dead at the scene.

Investigating officers say that there was some evidence, like splattered beer and wall art that had been knocked down, on the scene that pointed towards a dispute of some kind.

"There was possible blood observed in the bathroom sink, somewhat removed from the kitchen and bedroom areas, though the apartment is small," court documents state. "Officers also saw a kitchen knife in the garbage can on top of other items, stuck through a piece of cardboard. Upon closer examination there appeared to be blood on the blade of the knife."

A neighbor who was interviewed told police that they were with the Brantleys earlier that evening and that the three of them had sat out on the porch sipping alcohol. The witness says Robert got up to walk to the liquor store and was gone a short while before returning with two beers.

Robert reportedly gave one to his wife and opened the other for himself. They sat for a little while longer before Robert went inside and the witness left Vicki around 9 p.m., saying everything seemed fine between the husband and wife.

Brantley initially told police that Robert had went out with friends and only returned home about 20 minutes before she called police, and when police informed her that her husband had died, she said "she had told Robert to quit smoking cigarettes, as though that is what took his life."

Brantley later changed her story, telling police that when she confronted Robert about being gone and not telling her where he went, it sparked a domestic physical fight with pushes and punches exchanged.

"Brantley then said she went to the kitchen and grabbed a medium sized kitchen knife and turned around and 'pierced' or 'poked' or 'stuck' Robert but maintained that was different than actually stabbing him," court documents state.  "An autopsy confirmed that Robert died from a single stab wound to the left chest, which punctured his heart."

Robert Brantley was 71 years old. 

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