WARREN, MI — A 65-year-old man who had played Santa Claus in Warren's Thanksgiving parade in recent years was charged Wednesday with killing his daughter with a kitchen knife.

The two had argued in their home over Christmas decorations before the fatal stabbing, prosecutors said.

The stabbing was apparently over Christmas decorations.

Frederick Kaercher; his wife, Janet; and their daughter, Monica, 31, lived together in a town house near Van Dyke and Warren, police said.

A dispute between father and daughter Tuesday afternoon ended when police said Frederick Kaercher stabbed his daughter with a large kitchen knife in their home.

Monica Kaercher, who was engaged to be married, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said she had a defensive wound on her arm and a stab wound to her neck.

"It was apparently over Christmas decorations," Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor Robert Merrelli said. "They had just brought them down from the attic."

The mother, who was the only other person present during the attack, called police.

"This is so totally shocking because he's a very nice person."

Police Sgt. Gary Johnson said officers had been called to the Kaercher home at least three times in recent years on domestic disputes. At least one of those trips ended in Frederick Kaercher's arrest, Johnson said.

Kaercher had played Santa in Warren's Thanksgiving parades since 1995. Janet Kaercher was the parade vice chairwoman and had told other parade officials that her husband would not play Santa this year because of ill health.

"This is so totally shocking because he's a very nice person," said Jeff Cutter, the parade chairman.

Monica Kaercher had also worked as a parade volunteer.

Kaercher was arraigned Wednesday on an open murder charge in 37th District Court in Warren. He was sent to the Macomb County Jail without bond.