ST. PETERSBURG — She stabbed her husband, police said, because he took a call from another woman.
Russell and Sharon Denise Byrd were drinking with a friend about 2 a.m. Tuesday inside their apartment. The friend, Juan McQueen, 43, told police they began to argue when Russell answered his phone.
Sharon threatened to kill him, police said, then she went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and stabbed him in the upper body.
McQueen told police he thought it was a joke until the man fell to the ground. He held onto Russell and performed CPR, but the man stopped breathing. Russell, who was 44, died of his wounds.
The woman on the phone, police said, was his sister.
"My brother died in my arms, man," McQueen said. "She killed my brother cold-blooded."
Sharon, 46, left the apartment after the stabbing. McQueen thought she was going outside to direct the paramedics, but she never returned.
On Tuesday afternoon, she called police from a lawyer's office and announced she wanted to turn herself in. Police arrested her on a second-degree murder charge.
Her lawyer declined comment.
Both Sharon and Russell Byrd have lengthy criminal records that include multiple drug and fraud convictions. Records show that Russell Byrd was charged in 1988 with being an accessory to a homicide, but the charge was later dropped.
The couple married five years ago in Bradenton, records show.
Neighbors who gathered Tuesday on the front steps of the three-story apartment building where the stabbing happened said the couple had lived there for only a short time. Address records show that both lived in Manatee County for several years before moving to St. Petersburg.
"They were cool people," said Precious Jules, 16, who said the couple had a daughter with whom she attended school. They were known to argue, she said, but never enough to attract police attention.
Chatting with other neighbors Tuesday night, Jules speculated about what might have led Sharon to attack Russell. To do so over his talking to another woman seemed too senseless, she said.
"It had to be something more than that," Jules said.
Times news researcher Carolyn Edds and staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Laura C. Morel can be reached at (727)893-8713, or [email protected].