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Friday, September 24, 2021

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Wife fatally stabs UH assistant professor, HPD says


University administrators are still determing how to address the absence of a physics professor that Houston police said was stabbed to death by his wife early Friday.

"I’m not aware of their plans – if any had been made at this point," Eric Gerber, director of University communication, said Sunday afternoon.

At 1:20 a.m. Friday in the 11800 block of City Park Central, visiting assistant professor James Dewald was allegedly stabbed "numerous times" by his wife, according to a Houston Police Department press release.

James Dewald, whose age was not released, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the HPD release.

Kristen Dewald told HPD homicide investigators that "she killed her husband by stabbing with a large butcher knife," and he suffered from at least four to five deep stab wounds, the Chronicle reported based off of court documents. These court documents were unavailable Sunday.

Kristen Elaine Dewald, 38, was charged with murder on Friday and has had bond set at $50,000, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Her court date is set for today.

HPD homicide sergeants on the case refused to comment or return phone calls about the case all weekend.

HPD had verified with the University on Friday afternoon that he was a UH professor, Gerber said.

James Dewald began working at UH this semester and was teaching Physics 1302, the second half of introductory general physics. Department representatives were unavailable for comment Sunday night on what would happen to the 31 students enrolled in the section.

James Dewald received a doctorate in July 2007 from New Mexico State University, Gerber said.

He also received his master’s in physics at NMSU in 2006 and was part of a nanophysics group, according to NMSU’s Web site.

"He may have been involved in a research project dealing with nanophysics," Gerber said.

During his stay at NMSU, he was a research assistant and teaching assistant, according to NMSU’s Web site.

James Dewald specialized in near-field scanning optical microscopy and basic applied optics and organic photovoltaic device characterization.

He wrote or contributed to at least eight publications during his time at NMSU.

"Even though James Dewald hadn’t been with us very long, we’re saddened by his untimely death," Gerber said.


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