A California judge sentenced a woman who stabbed her boyfriend 108 times in a marijuana-induced psychotic episode to just two years of probation and 100 hours of community service this week.
The shocking verdict left the parents of the victim and people across the nation aghast when Ventura County Superior Court Judge David Worley ruled Bryn Spejcher “had no control over her actions” in the involuntary manslaughter case.
Shockingly, The Post can reveal another case in the same county where a man convicted of double manslaughter served fewer than four years in prison for arguing the same — that they were incapable of intending to kill due to intoxication.
But a Ventura County jury declined to convict Shirck of murder, instead opting for the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter — a count with a maximum term of seven years.
Shirck’s lawyers argued at trial he was drunk at the time of the killings. That impairment — combined with an episode of PTSD — made it impossible for him to have consciously intended to kill the women, they told the court.
His defense highlighted that Schirck had suffered from physical abuse as a child and suffered from recurring bouts of PTSD.
By the time he was sentenced, Shirck has already served almost four years behind bars as his case proceeded.
Since California law credits inmates a day of time served for each day spent in a county jail, Shirck satisfied his sentence and was released.
The case is eerily similar to that of audiologist Spejcher, 33, who killed boyfriend Chad O’Melia at his apartment in 2018.
Her attorneys contended that two bong hits of marijuana O’Melia had coerced her into taking, despite not being a smoker, sparked the psychotic episode which rendered her technically unconscious as she stabbed him repeatedly.
Spejcher also stabbed her dog then herself repeatedly after deputies arrived at the scene.
A jury convicted her of involuntary manslaughter, and she faced up to five years behind bars at her sentencing this week.
But Judge Worley opted against prison time, asserting she was incapable of comprehending her actions.
“If you can stab someone 108 times and get probation, we’re going to have nothing but anarchy and chaos,” the victim’s father, Sean O’Melia told The Post this week.
Relatives of the Dahl case also protested against Shirck’s term, and vowed to fight against state laws that allowed the result.
“He only has to do half that time,” Amanda Dahl said. “I don’t think being drunk is an OK escape from this. It’s just baffling.”
But Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Sara Azari argued that determining intent is crucial to the fair adjudication of a murder case, and that mental issues and intoxication levels must be taken into account.
“This isn’t an excuse,” she said. “It’s a real hindrance to be able to form the intent to commit a crime. We don’t want to open the floodgates for people who have a couple of drinks and then blame the bottle for crimes they’ve committed. It’s a case-by-case basis.”
“We’ve been so dismissive of mental illness and what it does to intent,” she said of the criminal justice system.
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