Milwaukee woman stabbed sister to death amid feud: complaint

A Milwaukee woman is accused of stabbing her sister to death with a kitchen knife amid an ongoing feud.

A family member told FOX6 the sisters were close, even inseparable at times. What happened April 26 near 45th and Hadley details a dark shift that left Tessa Gaines dead and Kiara Gaines in custody.

Kiara Gaines, 34, faces one count of second-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon.

Tessa Gaines, 35, was found lying on a porch and was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy revealed she had stab wounds to her left lung and heart.

"Apparently, she just opened her door to her sister... and just stabbed her immediately," said Arthur Thexton, prosecutor.


Tessa Gaines, Kiara Gaines

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A criminal complaint says Kiara Gaines was arrested when she came out of the home where police found a kitchen knife with blood on the approximately eight-inch blade. 

A witness said the sisters lived together for about two months and had been "feuding," the complaint says. According to prosecutors, Tessa Gaines arrived that day and argued with another family member on the porch when the witness saw Kiara Gaines stab her sister with a kitchen knife. 


Tessa Gaines

Kiara Gaines made her initial appearance in court Monday, May 1. In tears, she wore a suicide prevention vest as the state asked for $50,000 bail.

"This allegation is a violent offense. It's a homicide," said Susan Roth, court commissioner. "There is a significant exposure to considerable prison time if there's a conviction here."

"There's a clear public safety issue here," said Thexton. 


Kiara Gaines

Kiara Gaines' public defender asked for $2,500 cash, noting the mother of two suffers from post-partum depression.

"It's a very difficult struggle," said Zoey Stefaniak, defense attorney. "I think she was on her way to get mental health treatment. She was supposed to check herself in the day after."


Milwaukee fatal stabbing, 45th and Hadley

Cash bond was set at $35,000. Prosecutors said she could be charged with first-degree intentional homicide, which would carry a life sentence.