GARRETT — A Garrett woman admitted striking her husband multiple times in the back with various objects and found him dead in his bed the next morning, according to documents filed Monday in DeKalb Superior Court I.
Michelle Converset, 48, of the 1100 block of South Franklin Street, was arrested Friday at 7:55 p.m. She is charged with murder, a felony, and aggravated battery, Level 3 felony.
Indiana State Police said that on Sunday, May 24, the DeKalb County Coroner’s Office began a death investigation in the 1100 block of Franklin Street in Garrett. A man identified as David Allen Converset, 51, of Garrett, was found deceased at a residence. An autopsy conducted by the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne revealed evidence suggesting death by other than accidental or natural causes.
As a result of the findings, on May 25, the DeKalb County Coroner’s Office contacted detectives with the Indiana State Police Fort Wayne Post to assist in the investigation.
A state police news release said that after a thorough investigation, Indiana State Police detectives, with assistance of ISP Crime Scene Investigators, discovered incriminating evidence establishing probable cause for the arrest of David Converset’s wife, Michelle R. Converset, for murder.
According to a police affidavit filed by state police Detective Jake J. Quick, on May 24, Converset told DeKalb County Coroner Mike Gerber that her husband had fallen days prior and complained of a headache.
After performing an autopsy, forensic pathologist Scott Wagner, M.D., observed that Mr. Converset had suffered multiple rib fractures, which caused a collapsed lung and bleeding, and that the injuries were not consistent with a fall, the affidavit said.
On May 26, police spoke with Michelle Converset, who provided information that was not consistent with information she had provided to Gerber two days earlier. She said her husband had fallen at some point during the night and she heard him get back into bed, the affidavit said.
“I told Mrs. Converset that the injuries Mr. Converset had suffered were not consistent with a fall within the home,” Quick said in the affidavit. “She told me she didn’t know what happened.”
On May 26, a search warrant was executed, and police were unable to locate an area in the home that would have produced injuries consistent with Mr. Converset’s injuries, the affidavit said.
Quick said he spoke with Wagner again on May 27, and he told Quick that he observed injuries that were consistent with three hard blows to the back and side of Mr. Converset.
“These injuries were not consistent with a fall, and the manner of death was going to be homicide,” Quick said in the affidavit.
On May 29, Quick again spoke with Mrs. Converset, who changed her statement several times and provided information that Quick believed to be false, he said.
Quick said Converset then admitted getting into a physical altercation with her husband in the evening hours of May 23. The altercation became physical after he spoke with her harshly and used a vulgarity, Quick said in the affidavit.
“She told me that she went at Mr. Converset and kicked him in the chest, knocking him over. She told me that she pushed him and he fell into a chair and the edge of the wall. She told me that he was intoxicated, and he passed out in his bedroom,” Quick said.
Converset told Quick that approximately an hour later, she returned to her husband’s bedroom where he was sleeping.
“She admitted to striking Mr. Converset multiple times in the back with various objects. She later found Mr. Converset deceased in his bed the next morning,” Quick said.
On May 29, Indiana State Police Crime Scene Investigators returned to the home and found items consistent with what Converset had described using to strike her husband. The items were collected as evidence, Quick said
Later that day, Indiana State Police detectives arrested Converset without incident. She was transported to the DeKalb County Jail, where she was held without eligibility for release on bond prior to an initial hearing Monday.
Converset appeared by video link from the jail for her initial hearing. Superior Court I Judge Kevin Wallace entered preliminary not-guilty pleas on Converset’s behalf and appointed the DeKalb County Public Defender’s office to represent her. Wallace set bail in the amount of $100,000. As a condition of bail, within 24 hours of being released, she must report to DeKalb County Community Corrections, which would place her on electronically monitored home detention.
Wallace scheduled a pretrial conference for July 20.
State police detectives were assisted in the investigation by the DeKalb County Coroner’s Office, the Northeast Indiana Forensics Center in Fort Wayne and the DeKalb County Prosecutor’s Office.