In 2018, a California woman, Bryn Spejcher, faced a potential four-year prison term for the tragic killing of her boyfriend, Chad O’Melia, 26, whom she fatally stabbed over 100 times during a drug-induced psychotic episode. However, in a surprising turn of events, she was sentenced this week to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.
Spejcher, 32, had been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in December of the same year. The incident occurred on May 27, 2018, when, after smoking marijuana with O’Melia in his Thousand Oaks apartment, she allegedly stabbed him approximately 108 times. The Ventura County Star reported that she also inflicted multiple stab wounds upon herself.
Responding police officers found Spejcher at the crime scene, covered in blood and armed with a knife. They had to use a Taser device and a baton to subdue her and take her into custody.
During the trial, a medical expert testified that Spejcher’s actions were the result of cannabis-induced psychosis, a disorder characterized by hallucinations or delusions arising shortly after consuming cannabis, according to the L.A. Times.
Spejcher’s defense argued that she was “involuntarily intoxicated” and claimed that O’Melia had coerced her into smoking the remaining marijuana. The victim’s family confronted Spejcher during the sentencing hearing, where she expressed remorse for her actions, acknowledging the pain she had caused.
At the hearing, Shane O’Melia, the victim’s brother, shared the emotional toll of knowing that Spejcher had been out on bail since 2018. He lamented the five and a half years during which she had the opportunity to be with her family while they were left to cope with the loss of Chad.
Despite the severity of the crime, Ventura County Superior Court Judge David Worley opted not to impose a prison sentence, asserting that Spejcher had lost control of her actions after consuming marijuana. Spejcher’s attorney, Michael Goldstein, concurred with the judge, deeming the sentence a fair and accurate reflection of conduct that he argued was beyond his client’s control.