Woman avoids prison despite fatally stabbing boyfriend more than 100 times

Bryn Spejcher, a woman convicted of involuntarily manslaughter for fatally stabbing her boyfriend Chad O’Melia over 100 times during a cannabis-induced psychotic episode, has been handed a sentence that notably excludes any prison time. The incident unfolded in 2018 at O’Melia’s Thousand Oaks, California home, where the couple, in the early stages of their relationship, smoked marijuana together from a bong.

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office detailed that after the cannabis consumption, Spejcher entered a psychotic state, resulting in her stabbing O’Melia multiple times and inflicting self-harm. The tragic event occurred just weeks into their dating relationship. Following Spejcher’s conviction in December 2023 for involuntary manslaughter, she awaited sentencing, facing a potential four-year prison term as of Tuesday.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge David Worley delivered the final ruling, opting for a lenient sentence of two years of probation with no incarceration. Worley justified the decision by emphasizing Spejcher’s lack of culpability, contending that the killing was an outcome of the uncontrollable psychotic episode, rendering her incapable of exercising rational control over her actions.

During the sentencing hearing, Spejcher, set to turn 33 on Thursday, addressed the victim’s father, Sean O’Melia, expressing remorse and issuing an apology. She acknowledged the pain her actions caused, stating, “My actions have ripped your family apart … I am broken and aching inside. I hurt that you never see Chad again.”

Sean O’Melia, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict, asserting that the judge essentially granted individuals in California who use marijuana a “license to kill someone,” as reported by the Ventura County Star. In response to the verdict, Spejcher received a sentence of 100 hours of community service focused on raising awareness about the impacts of marijuana-induced psychosis. Moreover, she received a suspended prison sentence, with the provision that she could face incarceration if she violates the terms of her probation. This outcome sparked debate about the intersection of mental health, substance use, and legal accountability within the judicial system.