In audio from the emergency call, published by the Raleigh News & Observer, Phelps can be heard alternately sobbing and breathing heavily as he expresses bewilderment over what took place; he tells the dispatcher that he doesn't know what time it is or when he woke up.
The shocking admission was delivered between labored breaths and anguished pauses.
"I think I killed my (wife) . . ." a man's low voice says on the phone.
The 911 operator asks him to elaborate: "What - what do you mean by that? What happened?"
"I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she's dead on the floor," the man says. "Um, I have blood all over me and there's a bloody knife on the bed and I think I did it."
So begins a disturbing 6½-minute call, made just after 1 a.m. Friday, in which North Carolina resident Matthew Phelps, 27, appears to confess to killing his wife, Raleigh police said.
He does say he took cough medicine before he went to bed, according to the call audio.
"I took more medicine than I should have," Phelps says. "I took Coricidin . . . because I know it can make you feel good. So a lot of times I can't sleep at night, so I took some. . . . She's not moving. Oh my God."
The dispatcher repeatedly asks Phelps to check to see if his wife is breathing. Phelps tells him she is not, and that he's scared to get too close to her.
"There's all this blood," he says. "She didn't deserve this."
When police arrived at the home in northeast Raleigh, they discovered 29-year-old Lauren Phelps with multiple stab wounds. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, a police spokeswoman told the News & Observer.
Matthew Phelps was arrested Friday and charged with murder. He is being held without bond at the Wake County jail and is scheduled to make a court appearance Tuesday, according to court records. An attorney for Phelps was not listed.
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