Bryn Spejcher, a 32-year-old woman from California, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of her boyfriend, Chad O’Melia. The incident occurred in May 2018 in Thousand Oaks. Spejcher stabbed O’Melia over 100 times during what was described as a “cannabis-induced psychosis.” The jury reached the verdict in less than four hours.
The couple had been together for only a few weeks when the attack took place. Spejcher had taken two hits from O’Melia’s bong, a device used for smoking marijuana, before going into a psychotic episode. She stabbed O’Melia 108 times and also inflicted multiple stab wounds on herself. When officers arrived at the scene the following morning, they found Spejcher screaming next to O’Melia’s body, still holding a knife. O’Melia was pronounced dead at the scene.
During the trial, there was no dispute over whether Spejcher killed O’Melia or if her psychosis was legitimate. The focus was on whether her cannabis intoxication was voluntary. Spejcher’s defense argued that she was an inexperienced pot smoker and had a negative reaction to the second hit. She claimed to have heard sinister voices before the stabbing occurred.
Under California law, a person is held responsible for their actions while impaired by drugs or alcohol unless the intoxication is involuntary. Spejcher’s involuntary manslaughter conviction typically carries a sentence of around four years in state prison. However, there are four enhancements to her verdict that could potentially increase her sentence.
Spejcher will be back in court for hearings on the enhancements. Despite prosecutors’ request to have her remanded into custody, she has been granted bail until the hearings are complete. Sean O’Melia, Chad O’Melia’s father, expressed his gratitude for the work done by prosecutors and police but stated that he does not consider the outcome to be justice.