SAN JOSE -- A suspect arrested in the weekend stabbing death of an Almaden Valley man is believed to be the victim's stepson, who was described by neighbors as a troubled youth with a history of drawing police attention.

The young man remained in jail Sunday, while police declined to comment on the case or offer theories about what prompted the Saturday night attack at the home of the victim and his wife, who is believed to be the suspect's mother. She was also wounded but is expected to recover.

Former neighbors said they remembered seeing the young man in the back of a police car that delivered him to the couple's house a few years ago. The parents later said the youth had gotten in trouble at school, according to Roberta Bilyeu, who lived next door to the family for several years.

"They were usually quiet, very nice people," added Bilyeu, who gasped in dismay when told about the brutal attack over the weekend.

The stabbing victim and his wife lived for many years on a quiet suburban street near Santa Teresa High School, before moving to a larger home in the Almaden area last summer. This newspaper is not printing their names because police and the coroner's office have not formally released their identities.

Public records show the 55-year-old husband was originally from England; his occupation was unknown. Neighbors said the 50-year-old wife came from Canada and works in real estate.


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Several residents of the Santa Teresa neighborhood said the young man was the woman's son from a previous relationship, and that he didn't always live with the couple on a full-time basis. Instead, after the incident with the police a few years ago, he apparently went to live elsewhere.

"He was going to some kind of special school," recalled Henry Plaessmann, who lived next door to the couple and described the youth as "a little rebellious."

But the young man was seen at the couple's new home in recent months. A woman who lives on Charter Oak Place, the cul-de-sac in Almaden where the stabbing occurred, described incidents of shouting and said police had come to the home before Saturday.

More trouble erupted shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday, when someone called 911 to report a man had been stabbed at the Charter Oak house. Paramedics took the husband to Valley Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

Police said they found the young man a few blocks away and arrested him without a struggle.

No one answered the door at the Almaden Valley home on Sunday morning. On the gravel terrace in front, a pack of Marlboros lay alongside a lighter and a half-smoked cigarette, on a small table between three wicker chairs, as if they had been left suddenly.

Mercury News staff writers Robert Salonga and Paul Rogers contributed to this report. Robert Salonga can be reached at 408-920-5002.