California Gives No Jail Time To Woman Who Killed Her Boyfriend After She Blames Weed
Left: Bryn Spejcher (Ventura County District Attorney) Right: Stock art by Olena Ruban / Moment / Getty Images.
Left: Bryn Spejcher (Ventura County District Attorney) Right: Stock art by Olena Ruban / Moment / Getty Images.

A California judge on Tuesday sentenced a woman to no prison time, only 100 hours of community service and probation, after she was convicted of killing her boyfriend by stabbing him 108 times.

Bryn Spejcher killed Chad O’Melia with a kitchen knife in May 2018. She also killed her dog, and was screaming and stabbing herself when police apprehended her.

The lawyer for the now 32-year old audiologist claimed she entered a “cannabis-induced psychosis” after smoking marijuana. He said she did not have a history of using the drug, but that she did so after feeling pressured by the 26-year old accountant to smoke out of his bong.

Ventura County prosecutors originally charged Spejcher with second-degree murder, but downgraded the charge to involuntary manslaughter after medical experts gave credence to the idea of a psychotic break triggered by the drug.

Yet she still could have faced four years in prison, and the decision by Judge David Worley to give no time shocked prosecutors and the victim’s family.


Ventura County Senior Deputy District Attorney Audry Nafziger, who tried the case, told The Daily Wire, “The sentence is a terrible miscarriage of justice. I can only hope it is not repeated by other judges. Because involuntary manslaughter and the use of a deadly weapon in California permits judicial discretion… the court was able to set her free with no jail. It is an unheard of sentence in my jurisdiction.”

She noted that even as the judge accepted that the drug caused a deadly psychotic break, California lawmakers decided to legalize it. It cannot be a get-out-of-jail-free card, she said. “We do not let people off the hook for drinking and hurting people,” she said. “People are convicted of being intoxicated and harming others and they, rightly, go to jail.”

Nafziger said she believes that the phenomenon is real, even if it’s rare. “Psychiatrists and forensic psychologists and many in my profession have been well aware of marijuana-induced psychosis for decades,” she said.

Sean O’Melia, the father of the victim, said the ruling could lead violent criminals to try to evade responsibility by blaming weed. “I think [Judge Worley] set an absolute terrible precedent in the state of California where it’s okay to kill somebody after you smoke marijuana,” he told KTLA.

Nafziger said, “I do expect many defense attorneys to grab ahold of marijuana-induced psychosis and assert it,” but that this was an unusual case where the facts were well-documented. Spejcher was captured on police bodycams responding to hallucinations, and later said she believed that she was dead and that she could only bring herself back to life by killing O’Melia.

She was “literally sawing her neck off with a 10-inch bread knife when law enforcement burst into the room. Then they tased her numerous times to no effect and then hit her with a metal baton nine times until they broke her hand and arm in several places, forcing her to eventually release the knife. She did not respond to the officers at all, she was unaware they were present. She is then seen responding to the voices/command hallucinations on video. I do not think there will be many cases where overwhelming evidence such as this arises,” she said.

Marijuana was the only intoxicant in the systems of the killer and the victim, she said.

Nafziger said prosecutors already factored in drug-induced psychosis by reducing the charges. “That is how we took this factor into account. The Court’s handling of the case from the get go was that we shouldn’t have even brought the case… The sentence does not account for the change in charges. It accounts for nothing.”

Lu Madison, a friend of O’Melia’s mother, told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal that O’Melia’s mother died of sadness while awaiting the trial. She stood in the rain protesting for hours after the sentence. “So she stabbed someone to death and she got zero jail time,” she said.

In court, Spejcher begged for forgiveness and said, “I wish I had known more about the dangers of marijuana,” adding that she would spend her life warning others.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  California Gives No Jail Time To Woman Who Killed Her Boyfriend After She Blames Weed