A Killer Sleep Disorder

Scott Falater, a mild-mannered Mormon family man, inexplicably stabbed his wife 44 times, then drowned her in the family pool while a neighbor watched. His defense? He was sleepwalking.

He saw Yarmila Falater, lying on her side, several feet from the swimming pool. He watched her roll over on her back, moving her arms and legs, then stop moving.

A light came on in the second floor of the Falaters' house, and Koons saw Scott Falater in that room. After "two or three minutes," according to a police report, the light went off, and Koons saw Falater go into the kitchen, then living room, then return to the backyard.

"The suspect stood over the victim for several minutes," the report says, "then went back into the house. Three or four minutes later, [Falater] came out the side door to the garage wearing gloves."

With Koons watching, Falater pulled Yarmila to the pool's edge and rolled her in: "The suspect then held the victim's head under the water with his hands."

Koons ran inside and, finally, dialed 911.
Stephanie Reidhead told police she'd heard a woman scream, "Please, no," or "Please, don't," many times before Koons first went outside.

In another interview a few hours later, Koons said Falater had stared at Yarmila after returning outside "for approximately one minute," not several minutes.

He added, according to the report, that "Scott was looking toward his direction as if maybe he heard him, so [Koons] kept his head low while he was looking over the fence."

Koons also said that Falater had been wearing red sweat pants and a white tee shirt.

About the same time Detective Norman completed his interrogation of Falater at police headquarters, other officers began to search the family's residence.

They found a flashlight shining toward a pool pump in the backyard. The ground around the pump was stained with Yarmila Falater's blood.

The family's two dogs barked loudly as the search continued.
On the stairwell leading to the second floor, police found a blood-smeared pebble that resembled decorative rocks that surround the pool.

The police reports do not indicate if officers checked the Falaters' bedroom to determine if Scott had left bloodstains in or around his bed.

But they hit a mother lode when they searched the garage.
One officer saw a bloodstained tee shirt hanging out of the trunk of Scott Falater's Volvo station wagon. He opened it, and found a large, clear plastic container filled with what appeared to be blood-soaked clothing--including blue jeans, socks and an undershirt.

Also inside the container was a bloodstained hunting knife.
Next to the container was a black garbage bag, which held soaked black leather gloves and bloodstained brown leather boots.

The evidence seemed to show that:
* The bloodstained clothing in the Volvo had been worn by Scott Falater when he stabbed Yarmila.

* He'd then returned to the house, shed his bloody clothes, probably put a Band-Aid on his injured hand, and walked back outside in his red pajamas. (It's uncertain if he had been wearing his red pajamas--the ones Greg Koons described as sweat pants and the ones in which police arrested him--beneath his bloody jeans, or changed into them afterward.)

* He likely made separate trips to the Volvo, the first to deposit the bloodstained clothes and murder weapon, and the second to deposit his boots and gloves.

* He'd had no time to flee or cover his tracks.
Though Dr. Ann Bucholtz of the Medical Examiner's Office couldn't tell the order of the 44 stab wounds, she noted that six were to the back, five to the neck, three to the abdomen, 10 to the breasts, six to the front of the neck, two near the left ear, and 12 defensive-type wounds to the hands.

Five stab wounds penetrated to the hilt--at least four inches deep. At least four wounds would have been fatal, the autopsy report concluded, three to the lungs and one to her heart.

The report lists Yarmila's cause of death as "multiple stab wounds with drowning."

"I know in the interrogation I said I woke up hearing guys talking and all that," Falater tells New Times, "but the first memory that I have that can actually convert to what's happening in an unbroken stream of chronology is seeing the cop charge me through the back door. I thought I was getting up out of bed to see what on earth is going on down there. . . . When I hear people yelling and dogs barking, I'm wondering if I wasn't attacking Yarm [then]. I don't know."

The day after the murder, detectives spoke with the two Falater children (though why they didn't interview the pair separately, and allowed family friends to sit in, is unknown).

The siblings described a benign evening, and said they could think of nothing that would have led their father to harm their mother. They couldn't even remember their parents arguing, that night or any night.

The kids said Yarmila was watching television and reading a book in the family room when they had gone to bed between 9 and 9:30 p.m. They said their dad had been trying to devise a computer game for his church youth group.

"I asked them again if both parents seemed normal or either one of them seemed out of sorts," a detective noted, "and both children stated no, everything appeared normal."

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