A 41-year-old Boulder man who police say was fatally stabbed over the weekend by his wife had a checkered past that included domestic violence, according to court documents and one of his three former wives.

Laura Miller, now 39, said she married John Housman in York, Pa., after she became pregnant at age 17. Their marriage was short, however, and Miller said it was filled with violence. She said Housman punched her, threw her and pulled her hair.

“When we were dating, he slammed my head into a brick wall,” Miller said Tuesday from her home in Florida. “I remember that was the first time I saw stars.”

During their divorce — a year and a half after their teen marriage — Miller said Housman entered her home and strangled her until she blacked out. She said she stayed in contact with Housman because they shared a child together, and he continued to use abusive and threatening language toward her and their grown son.

Miller said she wasn’t surprised to learn that Housman’s fourth wife, Traci Housman, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of killing him in their Boulder home. Miller said she believes the woman was acting in self-defense.

“It’s so sad that this girl might ruin her life because she was scared for her life,” Miller said. “It could have so easily been myself.”

Boulder police are investigating whether John and Traci Housman had a history of domestic violence before his death.

Traci Housman, 36, was arrested early Sunday after calling 911 to report she had stabbed her husband in their home at 2994 23rd St. When police arrived, John Housman was found dead from a stab wound to the chest, according to authorities.

Traci Housman faces a possible charge of second-degree murder because police say they don’t think the killing was premeditated. Prosecutors are waiting to charge her while they continue investigating circumstances of the incident.

Boulder police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said detectives have been in contact with Housman’s ex-wives, although she wouldn’t discuss what they said.

Miller said she’s learned that “John was banging (Traci’s) head into a wall” the night of the stabbing.

“She ran to the garage with a kitchen knife in fear but couldn’t get out,” Miller said.

A source close to the case who has seen the arrest warrant affidavit — which hasn’t been made public yet — said Miller’s comments about the Housman homicide are in line with statements Traci Housman has made to police.

“This is the real John Housman, and this is the John Housman that Traci was up against,” Miller said.

Boulder County court records show that Housman was ticketed for harassment in 1999 and convicted of harassment and domestic violence in 2001, when he was married to another woman.

Boulder police haven’t released details of the 2001 incident, but court documents show Housman was ordered to have no contact with one of his ex-wives and children after that case.

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