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Woman held for fatal stabbing

Melanie Kuula

The woman who is accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death in an Almena backyard on Aug. 10 is being held in Barron County Jail.

The jail roster lists Melanie R. Kuula, 44, as being held for second degree intentional homicide and a call detail report for the incident lists her as a suspect.

Kuula is reported to have approached a man on the street around 4:23 p.m. on Saturday and state she had stabbed her boyfriend.

The man called police.

Authorities arrested Kuula and found Brett M. Bents, 50, deceased.

Court filings show Kuula and Bents had shared the address of 206 Soo Ave. E, Apt. 2 in Almena since at least Jan. 15.

Kuula had initially been listed as being held on a probation violation.

In January, Kuula pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and bail jumping in Barron County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 18 months probation.

Kuula pleaded no contest in June 2017 to disorderly conduct in Rusk County.

Records show Bents had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct misdemeanors in Barron County in June of last year and in September 2017 in Rusk County. Bents pleaded no contest in April 2015 to felony OWI.

Both Kuula and Bents had at least one court ordered no contact with the other requirement as part of a bond stipulation.

It is unclear if a current no contact stipulation was in place for either subject at the time of the stabbing.

A press release from the Turtle Lake Police Department said the agency is being assisted in its investigation by the Barron County Sheriff's Department, Wisconsin State Patrol and the County medical examiner.

The District Attorney's office is expected to file charges on Aug. 14, after this paper goes to print.

An updated version will appear online at


'House Hunters' episode has Rice Lake link

He wanted a charming, vintage fixer-upper; she wanted a sleek, modern move-in ready home.

After viewing three Chicago homes while being filmed for HGTV's "House Hunters," Bryan Pitts and his family came to a happy compromise.

Pitts, a 1998 Rice Lake High School graduate and his wife, Jocelyn, and their children, Melia, 4, and Rylan, 10 months, were featured on HGTV's "House Hunters" Tuesday night.

"We were lucky enough to be selected to participate; and even though we had a newborn at home, we thought it would be a fun opportunity to document the house search and a fun memory to look back on later as the children get older," said Pitts.

The episode called, "Old vs. Cold in Chicago" featured the Pitts family trying to find the perfect house for their growing family of four. With the addition of their daughter in 2015 and son last year, the Chicago couple had outgrown the

the condo they owned together for the last 13 years.

"We think [the reason we were picked] was likely due to the fact that we had a difference in what we wanted for a home as well as the need for more room as [the producers] could see in the Skype interview how congested our house was—including a changing table in the hallway," said Pitts.

Pitts said that the process is similar to any housing search. The Realtor took their requests for a home and identified a number of homes to tour. At each home, the "House Hunters" crew captured the family's initial reactions to the home—good and bad.

Pitts wanted a fixerupper with a larger yard.

"In Chicago, you don't get the large yards that I was familiar with in Rice Lake, but I was hoping for something more than a small piece of dirt," said Pitts. Jocelyn wanted a modern home that was move-in ready.

The Pitts' Realtor lined up three different homes.

The first home was a new construction home that was very modern with spacious living, bedrooms, and closets. This had the smallest backyard of them all.

The second house was a Victorian home that had a lot of vintage charm and a large back yard.

"It had a lot of character but not many of the modern amenities that Jocelyn wanted," said Pitts.

Finally, the third home was remodeled bungalow that retained a lot of the detail from the original home but with the upgrades that Jocelyn was looking for.

Ultimately, the Pitts family chose the second house with big ideas for updates to satisfy the more modern look Jocelyn wanted. And Bryan got that big backyard— reminiscent of his youth in northwest Wisconsin.

Pitts said the whole process was a fun experience for everyone except that their daughter, Melia, wasn't a big fan of the camera.

"She was a little intimidated by all the crew and so, unfortunately, I don't think her fun personality was able to come through. We told her the show will be airing and she said 'No more filming!'"

Pitts said he was looking forward to watching the show Tuesday evening with friends.

"It will be fun to show the kids when they are older and hopefully we will be in the same home," said Pitts.

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)