NEW PORT RICHEY — Robert and Lillian Fahrer had been drinking all day.
This, by all accounts, was not unusual. Nor was it unusual that they would fight.
Tuesday night at their small apartment on Trouble Creek Road, according to Sheriff's Office reports, things got bad.
Lillian said Robert pushed her against a kitchen wall and she reached for a steak knife in the sink.
"Go ahead, b-----, and stab me," Robert taunted. "Kill me. Go ahead."
She plunged it into his chest, the report said. He died at the scene.
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They had been married for 20 years. Both were from New York. Robert was 42, Lillian is 59. She did cooking demonstrations at Sam's Club in New Port Richey, according to her arrest report. He was listed in records as a laborer.
They had one child, Rob, who is now 19. He has lived with his grandmother in Holiday since he was 6 months old. Rob described his parents as alcoholics who rejected the notion of rehab. Both had convictions for DUI.
"They didn't want to stop drinking and partying," Rob said.
He saw them often. Lillian did laundry at her mother's house. Rob visited his parents' apartment. He saw them fight. Sometimes, Robert and Lillian would apologize to Rob the next day, he said, after he witnessed their fighting.
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The Fahrers' apartment is on the second floor, above a hair salon, pool company and counseling agency.
"Grizzly's dead?" gasped Peter Sheeran, who works for Toga Pools. He and his coworkers didn't know Robert's real name, so they called him "Grizzly Adams" because of his bushy, gnarled beard.
Sheeran and his colleagues said they saw Robert walk his two dogs — Pookie and Roxie — down the street every day and come back carrying a case of Natural Ice beer. Pookie, a black terrier, is now at the Pasco animal shelter. Roxie, a black-and-tan mixed breed, ran away after the stabbing. Deputies found a python and a lizard in the home, which were taken to a wildlife rescue agency, said Kevin Doll, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.
Neighbors did not want to talk about the couple.
"We feel it's disrespectful," said a young woman, before slamming her door. "They were our friends."
Mops, buckets and jugs of bleach were lined up outside the Fahrers' apartment. A fake bear rug hung to dry over the rails, the stuffed head and paws swinging in a breeze. On top of a trash bin full of empty beer cans sat wadded up yellow crime scene tape.
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Lillian Fahrer gave deputies the specifics of the fight that led to the stabbing. Wednesday, she sat in jail with a $50,000 bail, charged with manslaughter.
Rob said the gravity of the situation had yet to set in.
He said their routine was wake up, drink all day, fight at night. But other times they were "nice and friendly people," he said.
"I don't know how I will handle it."
Wednesday afternoon, he put on his Domino's Pizza uniform to go to work. He's a delivery driver. He got the job last week to save money for community college classes.
He hoped, in between deliveries, he would have some time alone to think.
Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.