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Crime News

Elderly Tennessee Woman Allegedly Knifes Napping Husband In The Chest While He’s Dozing In Recliner

Pecola Duncan seemed to be “in a cheerful mood and unfazed” after allegedly stabbing her husband Harold Duncan while slept, according to police.

By Dorian Geiger

A Tennessee woman is behind bars after she allegedly plunged a knife into her husband’s chest while the man slept in a reclining chair in the couple’s home last week.

Pecola Duncan, 72, has been charged with first-degree attempted murder after she allegedly tried to stab her husband to death, according to an arrest warrant obtained by Oxygen.com.

Anderson County authorities were called to a residence on Dutch Valley Road outside Clinton, Tennessee, about 175 miles east of Nashville, on Nov. 15 after reports that someone had been stabbed, officials said. When police arrived, Harold Duncan came stumbling out of the couple's home clutching a bloody towel to his chest. 

Harold Duncan told deputy Kevin Blevins that his wife had punctured his chest with a knife after he had fallen asleep in a recliner in their home. The man, who supposedly sustained significant blood loss, and whose injuries were “life threatening,” law enforcement said, was transported to the hospital. It’s unclear what his condition was on Thursday.

Two other Anderson County Sheriff’s Office deputies interviewed the man’s wife inside the couple’s home. Pecola Duncan, they claimed, seemed pleased — and acted as if nothing had happened. 

Pecola Duncan Pd

“She was appeared to be in a cheerful mood and unfazed by the events,” police said in a statement.

Shortly before Anderson County deputies took her into custody, the elderly woman asked if her husband had died in the knife attack. Before police were able to respond to her, Duncan allegedly said, “I hope he did.”

She also took police into the home’s kitchen where the knife she allegedly used to stab her spouse was retrieved. 

Police said the 72-year-old woman jammed a knife into her husband’s chest due to a violent encounter the couple previously had. Duncan told deputies that her husband had “attacked her and dragged her down the hallway.” 

However, responding investigators didn’t observe any signs a struggle had occurred or “see any marks or injuries” consistent with a physical altercation.

A spokesperson for Anderson County Sheriff’s Office wasn’t immediately available for comment on Thursday. 

Neither Duncan nor her husband, have a past criminal history in Anderson County, according to General Sessions court clerks.

However, local police had been called to couple's residence for a handful of times for domestic-related incidents in the past, including a week before Duncan's husband was stabbed, according to a police spokesperson. When police arrived at the couple's home earlier this month, deputies found that the 72-year-old woman had a “bump on her head.” Duncan again blamed on her husband, but no charges were filed. 

“When our officers got there, there was no signs of a struggle or an assault,” Tyler Mayes, a spokesperson for Anderson County Sheriff's Office, told Oxygen.com.

Kari Zelenka, a 29-year-old teacher’s assistant who lives in Anderson County, said she also once encountered Duncan during a similar such troubling incident last Christmas. Zelenka told Oxygen.com she was driving down Dutch Valley Road with her sister on Dec. 23, 2018 when the pair saw Duncan walking barefoot and without a jacket. She said she almost mistakenly smacked the elderly woman with her car.

“I almost hit her,” Zelenka recalled."We stopped and we asked her if she was okay. She was crying. She wouldn’t let us touch her. She was very frazzled, almost like she didn’t know what was going on.”

Zelenka said that Duncan, who appeared confused and distraught, claimed her husband had attacked her — and claimed that he had dementia. 

“She finally told us that her husband had beat her and that he had dementia and that he doesn’t remember anything, she was over it and that she was leaving,” Zelenka said. 

But the teacher’s assistant said something was off. Duncan told her she was walking to her daughter’s house but couldn’t provide an address. Zelenka, who estimated the elderly woman was several miles from her own home, noted that it was roughly 40 degrees Fahrenheit that night. Zelenka said she suspected that Duncan may have had diminished faculties.

“We kept asking her, ‘Where does your daughter live?’” Zelnka said. “She couldn’t tell us — almost like she had dementia herself. She was just scared.”

Eventually, Zelenka said her and her sister were able to get a jacket on the woman and police arrived shortly thereafter. Authorities told her that the woman was going to be transported to Oakridge Medical Center.

Zelenka described the incident as an “hour and a half ordeal.” She said the woman probably would have died in the cold if they hadn’t spotted her.

“I do think she would have froze to death or somebody would have hit her, not thinking about it,” she added.

The Anderson County Sheriff's Department confirmed Zelenka's account with Oxygen.com.

Duncan has been arraigned and is scheduled to be back in court for a plea negotiations hearing on Dec. 4 at 8:30 a.m., online court records stated. She’s being held on a $100,000 bond and is being represented by a public defender.