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Sleepwalker threw her, sister testifies

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

PHOENIX – The sister of accused murderer Scott Falater says he once threw her across a room when she interrupted him while he was sleepwalking.

Falater, 43, claims he was sleepwalking when he stabbed his wife to death in 1997. Prosecutor Juan Martinez said he plans to seek the death penalty if Falater is convicted of murdering Yarmila Falater.

Falater’s sister, Laura Healy, told jurors yesterday that she interrupted her brother while he was sleepwalking in 1976, when he was 21 and she was 16. Falater threw her across the room when she locked the back door of the apartment they shared with their mother and stepfather, Healy said.

”He turned and lifted me up and tossed me through the air,” said Healy, who estimated her brother threw her about 10 feet. ”I was just sitting there on my butt, looking at him, and the look on his face was indescribable.

”He looked very, very angry. It was not the Scott I knew.”

Falater claims he was sleepwalking again when he stabbed his wife 44 times, pushed her into their swimming pool and held her head under water. Martinez has said the killing was too deliberate to be the work of a sleepwalker, pointing out that Falater put the knife and his bloody clothes into his Volvo before police arrived.

Healy admitted under cross-examination that she did not tell anyone else about the 1976 episode until after the killing, even when the subject of Falater’s childhood sleepwalking came up. She said she was the first one to suggest the sleepwalking defense.

”You were as skeptical as everyone else,” she told defense lawyer Michael Kimerer. Her brother was skeptical, too, but repeatedly claimed he did not remember the killing, Healy said.

Meanwhile, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Ronald Reinstein agreed to rule on Martinez’s request to let the jury hear evidence about Falater’s alleged infidelity.

Defense witnesses and Falater’s relatives have described him as a loving family man who would never harm his wife. Martinez wants the jury to hear testimony that Yarmila Falater caught a sexually transmitted disease from her husband in 1990 and mentioned it to a friend in the months before her killing.

Reinstein said he also would hear from Randy Keadle, a coworker of Falater’s who testified for the defense last week. Martinez said Wednesday that Keadle told prosecutors Falater ”may have dragged his daughter upstairs by the hair.”

Martinez said Keadle also had information about another coworker who reportedly claims that a few weeks before the killing, Falater discussed the acquittal of a Canadian man who said he killed while sleepwalking.

Kimerer yesterday dismissed such talk as ”rumors.”

PHOTO CAPTION: The Associated Press

Scott Falater claims he was sleepwalking when he stabbed his wife 44 times and held her head under water.

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