FRESH DIRT in a back yard is usually a sign of growth and life.
But early Tuesday, on Frankford Avenue near Oxford in Frankford, fresh dirt was a sign of something much more sinister. And the man arrested in connection with that overturned earth has a past that he probably wanted to keep buried, too.
A past that includes assaulting a police officer with a knife, among other crimes, police sources said last night.
About 11:30 Tuesday morning, a resident on that block flagged down a beat cop in the area, police said. He led the officer to the rear of a nearby property and showed him a mound of new dirt.
The man told police that he had heard screaming Sunday night from what sounded like a lovers' quarrel inside the home, near his own, a police source said.
He didn't see the woman all day Monday. Then, late that night, he noticed the guy who lives at the home puttering around in his back yard.
The next morning, the resident went to investigate, the source said, and what he saw made him rush out to find a cop.
Toes were sticking out of the fresh dirt.
Investigators unearthed the body of a woman from within a hole nearly 3 feet deep, the source said. Her name has not been released by police.
The woman's cause of death is pending an autopsy, but it appeared she had been stabbed numerous times in her chest and shoulder, sources said.
Also in the back yard, police found trash bags filled with bloody rags and clothing.
As officers assessed the scene, they observed a man peering out of a window in the home's second floor, police said. When he locked eyes with the cops in his yard, he tried to flee out of his front door.
He didn't make it - after a fight with those officers, the man was subdued with a Taser and taken into custody, police said.
As of last night, the man had not been charged in connection with the body found behind his home, police said.
So, the Daily News is not reporting his name.
But court records show that he has a history of violent behavior.
In June 2010, the man pulled out a handgun and pointed it at officers after being confronted by police in Olney for drug offenses, records show. It wasn't his first brush with the law: His criminal record includes several convictions for guns and drugs.
One of the quick-thinking cops in the 2010 ordeal knocked the weapon out of the man's hand and tackled him to the ground. During the struggle, the punk produced a knife and slashed the cop's right hand before being subdued and taken into custody.
The man pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and gun violations in that incident, court records show. A Common Pleas judge sentenced him to four to 10 years on the assault charge, and three to seven years on the gun violation.
Apparently, he got out early.
Meanwhile, as investigators probed the man home's in Frankford on Tuesday, they found a huge knife, one with a long, thick blade, sources said.
It was sitting near a shovel.