A woman convicted of stabbing her boyfriend to death 108 times while experiencing cannabis-induced psychosis was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, avoiding time in prison.
According to the office of the Ventura County District Attorney, a jury found Bryn Spejcher, 32 \guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the slaying of her new boyfriend, Chad O’Melia, in December 2018. The judge ruled that Spejcher experienced a psychotic break from reality and had no control over her actions when she killed her partner.
The conviction carried a possible prison sentence of up to four years. Instead, Judge David Worley ordered Spejcher to complete 100 hours of community service and two years of probation.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Audry Nafziger, who prosecuted the case, described Worley’s ruling as an injustice that was heartbreaking to the victim’s family.
“It’s very hard to reconcile why someone who used marijuana and slaughtered another human being, literally 108 stab wounds, gets a pass because of marijuana,” Nafziger said. “We have people who do bad things every day under the influence, and they go to prison.
According to Daily Mail, Campaigners protested that the judge’s ruling was unforeseen in cannabis psychosis cases, while Spejcher’s attorney, Robert Schwartz, said the case should act as a warning against the use of increasingly potent marijuana.
Ridiculous. No consequences for anything these days in California apparently. https://t.co/R8hV08lzbG
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) January 24, 2024
‘We will see more tragic cases like this as the availability of high-potency marijuana spreads across the country.’ Schwartz said.
The victim’s father, Sean O’melia, accused Worley of being biased following his ruling.
“He just gave everyone in the state of California who smokes marijuana a license to kill someone,” O’Melia said.
In Spejcher’s closing statement, she apologized to the family of the victim.
“My actions have ripped your family apart,” she said. “I am broken and aching inside. It hurts that you never see Chad again.”
According to court documents obtained, on May 27, 2018, Spejcher and Chad each took hits from a marijuana-filled bong after meeting at a local dog park several weeks earlier.
Shortly after, Spejcher experienced an adverse reaction to the drug, causing her to switch into a cannabis-induced psychotic episode where she allegedly stabbed Chad 108 times with an 8-inch serrated bread knife.
She also killed her dog in the process. When police arrived, Spejcher was screaming and stabbed herself in the neck with the same knife.
According to the New York Post, under California law, a person is seen as responsible for their actions when impaired by drugs or alcohol unless their intoxication is involuntary.