Police arrest man accused of deadly Thanksgiving Day stabbing

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VENTURA, Calif. -- Police on Wednesday said they arrested a man accused of fatally stabbing someone in the Midway District Thanksgiving Day.

Early Wednesday morning, the Ventura Police Department tweeted photos of Forrest Robert Brantley, a 38-year-old man suspected of stabbing 55-year-old Robert Erbe in the neck. Brantley was arrested without a struggle after officers saw him walking near the intersection of Highway 101 and state Route 33 in Ventura and recognized him from police bulletins.

The stabbing happened during an argument Thanksgiving morning along the 3100 block of Sports Arena Boulevard.

Erbe was taken to a hospital following the attack, where he was later pronounced dead. Investigators have not speculated on the reason for the fight between Brantley and Erbe, but they said that Brantley, who is from Ventura, has a long history of run-ins with the law.

"A review of superior court databases shows Brantley has been arrested 34 times since 2000," Ventura police Cmdr. David Dickey said. "The charges included burglary, robbery, elder abuse, drug-related offenses and property crimes. At the time of his (latest) arrest ... he was on active parole for attempted robbery, burglary, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon."

In September 2016, Brantley was arrested after allegedly breaking into a gift shop at a historic Spanish mission in downtown Ventura, stealing two crucifixes and using them to bludgeon five people, including a 75-year-old man, on nearby roadsides, according to published reports.

Police notified Ventura residents that Brantley was believed to be in the area Wednesday morning. Around 10:30 a.m., police said they arrested Brantley in Ventura.

The cause of the stabbing was under investigation.

Anyone with information on the incident was asked to contact the San Diego Police Department Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

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