California woman who got high and stabbed boyfriend 108 times will not go to prison, judge rules

Bryn Spejcher in her Ventura County booking photo, which shows scars on her neck where prosecutors say she stabbed herself as police tried to arrest her in the stabbing death of her boyfriend, Chad O'Melia. She was convicted of involuntary manslaught (Ventura County District Attorney)

A California woman who fell into a pot-fueled psychosis after getting high on drugs and stabbed her boyfriend 108 times before slicing her own neck as police tried to stop her will not serve any prison time, a judge has ruled.

Jurors found Bryn Spejcher, a 32-year-old from Ventura County, guilty in December of involuntary manslaughter after she stabbed her boyfriend Chad O'Melia 108 times while high on cannabis. 

The stabbing took place overnight between May 27 and 28 in 2018, at O'Melia's apartment in Thousand Oaks, according to prosecutors.

"Both took several hits from a bong loaded with marijuana," the Ventura County District Attorney's Office said in a statement. "Spejcher had an adverse reaction to the marijuana and suffered from what experts call ‘cannabis-induced psychotic disorder.’"

The state's mental health expert reportedly determined that as a result she was "unconscious" while she stabbed O'Melia dozens of times. She also stabbed her dog and turned the knife on herself when police arrived.

"In the early morning hours of May 28, 2018, law enforcement arrived at the apartment to find Mr. O’Melia in a pool of blood and Spejcher screaming hysterically with a knife still in her hands," according to District Attorney Erik Nasarenko's office.

"Before law enforcement could disarm her, Spejcher plunged the knife into her own neck," prosecutors said in a statement after her conviction. "Officers used a taser and several baton blows before they were able to finally disarm Spejcher."

The Thousand Oaks Acorn, a local newspaper, reported in the fall that initial murder charges against Spejcher were downgraded to involuntary manslaughter over protests from O'Melia's family due to the presence of "cannabis-induced psychotic disorder."

Court records show the change came days before the start of her trial.

"The case should be tried for what it is, murder," the victim's father, Sean O'Melia, reportedly wrote in a letter to county leaders. "It’s not some accident."

The reduced charges also prompted protests outside the courthouse, where demonstrators carried signs supporting O'Melia's family and demanding a serious punishment from Judge David Worley during Tuesday's hearing.

The court ultimately handed down a sentence of two years on probation and 100 hours of community service.

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