California: A woman in the US state of California, who fatally stabbed her boyfriend over 100 times during a “cannabis-induced psychosis”, managed to avoid prison time, a judge ruled on Tuesday. The incident took place in 2018, when the 32-year-old Bryn Spejcher fatally stabbed Chad O’Melia, 26, after taking multiple hits from a bong loaded with marijuana, reported CBS News.
Spejcher was convicted by a jury of involuntary manslaughter last month for the death of Chad O’Melia, whom she had been dating for a few weeks. Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko said in a statement in December that Spejcher had an adverse reaction to the marijuana and suffered from what experts call a cannabis-induced psychotic disorder. “During that psychotic episode, Spejcher stabbed Mr. O’Melia multiple times killing him. She also stabbed herself repeatedly,” Nasarenko said.
In the early hours of May 28, 2018, law enforcement officials found O’Melia in a pool of blood and Spejcher screaming hysterically with a knife in her hands. Before she could be arrested, Spejcher plunged the knife in her own neck, while officers used a taser and several baton blows to disarm her. O’Melia was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
The final ruling was delivered by Ventura County Superior Court Judge David Worley on Tuesday, who said that the “senseless” killing was driven by the psychotic episode and therefore “she had no control over her actions”, according to local media. She was instead sentenced to two years in probation and 100 hours of community service, leading Spejcher and her family to cry tears of relief.
“My actions have ripped your family apart … I am broken and aching inside. I hurt that you never see Chad again,” Spejcher told Chad’s father Sean O’Malia during the hearing. The victim’s father was displeased with the verdict, saying it set a dangerous precedent for others. “He just gave everyone in the state of California who smokes marijuana a license to kill someone,” he said.
Spejcher’s lawyer, Bob Schwartz, said he was pleased with the ruling, the outlet reported. “Judge Worley did the right and courageous thing,” Schwartz said.
On the day before Tuesday’s hearing, family and friends of O’Melia marched in front of the county government center, carrying signs that said: “108 Stab Wounds Is A Serious Crime,” and “Judge Worley, Do The Right Thing”. However, Spejcher’s lawyers claimed in court that she was an inexperienced smoker and was pressured into taking the last hit, which sent her into a psychotic episode.