In a controversial ruling, a Ventura County judge sentenced a 32-year-old woman to two years of felony probation without prison time for the 2018 fatal stabbing of 26-year-old accountant Chad O’Melia. The decision has sparked outrage among the victim’s family.
Bryn Spejcher, a resident of Thousand Oaks, was convicted last month of involuntary manslaughter. On May 27, 2018, Spejcher visited O’Melia’s apartment where they consumed marijuana. Authorities reported that Spejcher then suffered from Cannabis-Induced Psychotic Disorder, leading to a psychotic episode during which she fatally stabbed O’Melia 108 times with three different knives, resulting in his death.
The next day, police found a hysterical Spejcher, still holding a knife, in the apartment alongside O’Melia’s body. In an attempt to disarm her, Spejcher injured herself with the knife, leading to her eventual disarmament by the police using a taser and baton blows.
The victim’s brother, Shane O’Melia, expressed his family’s distress, highlighting the contrast between Spejcher’s life post-incident and their loss. Ventura County Deputy District Attorney Audry Nafziger voiced disagreement with the ruling, underscoring the severity of the crime.
The judge’s decision took into account Spejcher’s lack of criminal record, her professional standing, and the severe psychosis she experienced during the incident. Legal experts and the O’Melia family raised concerns about the potential precedent this ruling could set in cases of violent crimes linked to substance use.
Spejcher, who has been out on bail since the incident, addressed the court tearfully, asking for forgiveness and pledging to dedicate her life to positive deeds.