Scott Falater maintains that he does not remember stabbing his wife, Yarmila Falater, 44 times and throwing her into their Phoenix pool. The 1997 murder case made national headlines when his defense attorneys claimed he was sleepwalking during the killing.
A jury didn’t believe his story. He was convicted of first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence in prison.
ABC’s 20/20 dug into the murder case on a new episode, “While He Was Sleeping.” It aired at 9 p.m. Eastern time Friday, January 29.
Here’s what you need to know:
Falater Is Serving His Life Sentence in Yuma & Has Worked as a Tutor in Prison
Falater is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He is currently serving his sentence at the Yuma Prison Complex Cibola Unit in San Luis, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Falater has held several jobs throughout his time in prison, most frequently working as a tutor. He’s had stints as a tutor that have sometimes lasted years. His most recent job was working as a porter, an administrative duty, beginning in 2013. Falater’s record does not show that he is currently working in a job, and it says he stopped working as a porter in 2016.
Here is his inmate profile:
Falater is in “medium custody,” which is one of four classifications in the Arizona state prison system and the lowest level of custody permitted based on Falater’s life sentence, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections handbook. Medium custody is just above minimum custody in the custody classification system.
“These inmates shall not work outside the secure perimeter of an institution and require limited controlled movement within the institution,” the handbook says about medium custody inmates.
His prison records show he has been classified 21 times since his conviction in 2000, and during every assessment, he was determined to present either “low” or “lowest” internal risk factors. He had one minor infraction in 2004 for disobeying an order, his prison record shows.
Here is his prison record:
Falater Says He Has Not Forgiven Himself But Believes His Wife Would Be ‘More Understanding’ & He Does Not Deny Killing Her
Police were called to the Falater’s home in Phoenix on January 16, 1997, when a neighbor heard screaming, according to AZFamily.com. Yarmila’s body was found floating in a pool, and she had 44 stab wounds to her body.
A neighbor told police he saw Falater drag his wife to the pool and hold her head underwater. Scott admitted to killing his wife, stabbing her, holding her underwater and even hiding the knife in his Volvo, but he claimed he did it all when he was sleepwalking, the news outlet reported. His family testified that he had a history of sleepwalking, but the jury did not believe the tale. Prosecutors argued he was able to recognize his dog and calm him during the time period he claimed to be asleep.
In a jailhouse interview with 20/20‘s Amy Robach, he says he has not forgiven himself.
“No. No, I doubt I ever will,” he said.
Robach asked if he believes his wife has forgiven him.
“I think about what she had to go through that night, and the pain and the terror that she had to feel, I can’t even fathom,” he says.
He goes on to say he believes she would be more understanding than he would be.