She Stabbed Beau 108 Times, Avoids Jail Time

Bryn Spejcher found to have been suffering from marijuana-induced psychosis
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2024 10:35 AM CST

The family of a man fatally stabbed 108 times says a California judge has set a dangerous precedent in ruling that the man's killer will serve no jail time. In December, a jury found Bryn Spejcher guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the May 28, 2018, death of 26-year-old Chad O'Melia, whom she'd been dating for a few weeks, per the Ventura County Star. The prosecution and defense agreed that Spejcher, who turns 33 on Thursday, was suffering from the effects of marijuana-induced psychosis when she stabbed O'Melia with three different knives and later stabbed herself in the neck in the presence of law enforcement. "What we don't agree on is that she should have walked free today," Ventura County Deputy District Attorney Audry Nafziger told KTLA on Tuesday.

In applying two years of probation and a four-year suspended prison sentence Tuesday, Ventura County Superior Court Judge David Worley stressed the lack of culpability, noting Spejcher lost control over her actions after taking bong hits with O'Melia at his apartment in Thousand Oaks. He said the evidence and expert testimony showed Spejcher didn't know marijuana would trigger a psychotic episode. He also sentenced Spejcher to 100 hours of community service, to focus on raising awareness about marijuana-induced psychosis, KTLA reports. Spejcher cried tears of relief as the sentencing was read. Her lawyer, Bob Schwartz, said the judge "did the right and courageous thing," per the Star.

O'Melia's family was left in shock and anger. "It's been five-and-a-half years where she has got to live with her family and we get to live with a box of ashes," the victim's brother, Shane O'Melia, told KTLA. Sean O'Melia, the victim's father, said the judge "just gave everyone in the state of California who smokes marijuana a license to kill someone," per the Star. At the sentencing hearing, Spejcher repeatedly apologized to Sean O'Melia. "My actions have ripped your family apart," she said. "I am broken and aching inside. I hurt that you never see Chad again." Formerly a licensed audiologist, she vowed to spend the rest of her life helping others. Worley informed her that the four-year prison sentence would be imposed if she violates probation, per KTLA. (More involuntary manslaughter stories.)

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