SoCal woman gets probation for stabbing man to death during cannabis-induced psychosis

Christiane Cordero Image
Thursday, January 25, 2024
Woman avoids prison for fatal stabbing during weed-induced psychosis
A SoCal woman who said she was on a cannabis-induced psychosis when she fatally stabbed a man was sentenced to two years of probation and no prison time.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- After years of sitting through court appearances, Sean O'Melia woke up in another state, trying to put a long legal road behind him.

His son Chad O'Melia was killed Memorial Day 2018 in a Thousand Oaks apartment by Bryn Spejcher, a woman he had just started dating.

"He just met the wrong person at the wrong time," Sean O'Melia told Eyewitness News. "The wrong conditions prevailed, and he lost his life because of it."

The two were smoking marijuana that night, the trial revealed.

Attorneys representing both sides agreed Spejcher was overcome by a cannabis-induced psychosis, which brought the original murder charge down to involuntary manslaughter.

For five and a half years, the O'Melia family has waited for accountability, and according to legal expert Neama Rahmani, they had every reason to expect it to look like prison.

"This case is so unique because if I use marijuana, and I get behind the wheel of a car and accidentally kill someone, I'm going to be sentenced to state prison," said Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor.

Instead, the Ventura County judge sentenced Spejcher to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

"There's nothing good that's come out of this, for anybody," O'Melia said.

When asked what justice would have looked like, O'Melia pointed to the system.

"I think it would've looked like the system worked," O'Melia said. "I mean, there are people who are in prison right now who have done much less than what this girl has done."

A more typical sentence would have been two to four years, according to Rahmani.

"Even though the jurors returned a guilty verdict on the top count of involuntary manslaughter, Bryn ended up getting a slap on the wrist," Rahmani said.

Spejcher expressed remorse and regret in court.

When asked Thursday, her defense attorney didn't have an additional comment.

During trial, her team noted the fact that she stabbed herself and even her dog that night to show that she was not in control.

"I'm going to concede that she didn't intentionally try to kill my son. But she has some unique attribute about her - and I don't say that in a derogatory sense - I say that in a factual sense, that made this happen," O'Melia said. "She needs to understand why it happened and make sure it doesn't happen again."