N.J. man charged with first-degree murder after stabbing woman to death

N.J. man charged with first-degree murder

Brandon E. Petersen, 31, of Sussex County.Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office

A Sussex County man has been charged with the murder of a 38-year-old woman who was stabbed to death in Hunterdon County in December 2020.

A Hunterdon County grand jury indicted Brandon E. Petersen, 31, of Newton for the first-degree murder of Michele M. Carkhuff and two related crimes earlier this week, the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed.

He remains imprisoned in the Warren County Jail.

Carkhuff, who was also a resident of Newton, is survived by two daughters. They were 20 and 6 years old at the time of her death.

Delaware Township police responded to a report of a stabbing victim at 9:13 p.m. on Dec. 6. The victim’s friends had transported her to a local hospital in Mercer County prior to their arrival, and there she “succumbed to her injuries,” according to prosecutor’s office.

Petersen was arrested the following morning in Pennsylvania following a joint investigation by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office and the Delaware Township Police Department.

He was previously sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2008 for repeatedly stabbing a neighbor during a robbery that took place in 2005 when he was 15 years old, court records show.

Liz Velez, communications director for the New Jersey Department of Corrections, said Petersen was released from Southern State Correctional Facility on Aug. 21, 2019.

Department of Corrections records show he had initially been released from prison in May 2016, and returned to prison in November 2017. He was released again in December 2018 before being returned to prison from April to August 2019.

Records indicate that Petersen stabbed the 57-year-old neighbor numerous times on her head, cheek, forehead and wrists outside her home because he wanted to rob her of about $200 to repay a drug dealer.

Court records also show Petersen was again arrested in February 2017 in Newton and charged with simple assault. The prosecutor dismissed the case a few months later because the “victim does not wish to proceed,” court records state.

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.

Caroline Fassett may be reached at cfassett@njadvancemedia.com.