Lax punishment for killers in Ventura County becomes common in LA suburb as woman who stabbed her boyfriend to death in marijuana-induced psychotics break and double-killer both escape severe punishment for their heinous crimes

Lax punishment for murderers has seemingly become commonplace in one SoCal county – after two cons managed to escape harsh sentences in their respective cases.

First, Shawn Shirck — a 29-year-old convicted of murdering two women in Ventura County in 2019 — was sentenced and released the same day after a June trial in the county.

Then Ventura County Judge David Worley further fueled rumors that court officials in the mostly suburban area were lenient when he ruled that 33-year-old Bryn Spejcher had ‘no control over her actions’ when she brutally killed Chad O’Melia on Tuesday has.

The murder, strikingly similar to Shirck’s, saw the woman stab her beau more than 100 times after falling into a ‘cannabis-induced psychosis’ at his flat in 2018.

Both cases were treated as involuntary manslaughter, with Shirck’s lawyers arguing he was drunk and in the midst of a bout of PTSD when he killed 59-year-old Margaret Dahl – his father’s girlfriend – and her mother, Phyllis Porter, 82. , fatally stabbed.

Bryn Spejcher, 33, had 'no control over her actions' when she brutally murdered Chad O'Melia at his Ventura County apartment in 2018

Shawn Shirck — a 29-year-old convicted of murdering two women in Ventura County in 2019 — was sentenced and released the same day after a June county trial

A TALE OF TWO MURDERS – AND ONE COUNTY: Both cases were heard in Ventura County and treated as involuntary manslaughter. Each of the suspects’ legal teams successfully argued during proceedings last year that prosecutors should recategorize their crimes

O'Melia and Spejcher initially bonded over their shared love of dogs and only saw each other a few weeks before the attack took place

Shirck spent four years in prison for the murders of Phyllis Porter, 82, and her 59-year-old daughter, Margaret Dahl, and was released in June for time served.

THE VICTIMS, HER AND HIS: Left, Spejcher’s victim O’Melia. Right, Shirck’s victims Phyllis Porter and Margaret Dahl

Each of the suspects’ teams successfully barred prosecutors from recategorizing their crimes, saying neither could have knowingly intended to kill their victims.

“I feel like the judge showed prejudice on a level I’ve never seen before,” Sean O’Melia said after Spejcher’s sentencing in Ventura County Superior Court, where her son’s killer was sentenced to just two years of probation and 100 hour community service was hit. .

“All it does is give a license to anyone who smokes weed to kill someone,” the father added.

He went on to tell The New York Post: ‘If you can stab someone 108 times and get probation, we’re going to have nothing but anarchy and chaos.’

Spejcher, meanwhile, was seen crying as Judge Worley read her sentence – despite attacking her then-new boyfriend around 108 times after taking two hits from his ‘bong’ during a weed smoke on May 27, 2018.

She flew into a violent madness induced by the marijuana, an expert witness confirmed – in a somewhat rare reaction where cannabinoids present in the substance cause an attack of what is essentially madness.

She testified at her November trial that moments after just two tokes she started hearing voices, which led her to stab O’Melia – whom she had met just weeks before – to death.

In her smoke-induced stupor — during which attorneys agreed she was technically unconscious — she proceeded to fatally stab her own dog, stabbing herself 43 times in the neck after deputies arrived at the scene.

Ventura County Judge David Worley - who saw her behind Chief Deputy District Attorney Audry Nafziger during proceedings in November - ruled against jail time for Spejcher on Wednesday, believing Spejcher was incapable of comprehending her actions.

Ventura County Judge David Worley – who saw her behind Chief Deputy District Attorney Audry Nafziger during proceedings in November – ruled against jail time for Spejcher on Wednesday, believing Spejcher was incapable of comprehending her actions.

Spejcher with her attorneys at the Ventura County Government Center, Hall of Justice, courtroom in November

Spejcher with her attorneys at the Ventura County Government Center, Hall of Justice, courtroom in November

She is seen with several scars in her Ventura County Sheriff's Office mug shot, although she appeared fresh-faced in court

She is seen with several scars in her Ventura County Sheriff’s Office mug shot, although she appeared fresh-faced in court

She is seen with several scars in her Ventura County Sheriff’s Office mug shot, although she appeared fresh-faced in court.

A jury found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month, after prosecutors ultimately opted for the lesser charge.

Still, she faced up to five years behind bars before her Tuesday sentencing, where Judge Worley ultimately opted for clemency and decided against jail time because of the belief that Spejcher was incapable of comprehending her actions.

The defendant’s attorneys, Robert Schwartz and Michael Goldstein, subsequently praised and encouraged the judge’s ruling, even calling it a “correction” of the jury’s guilty verdict a few weeks earlier.

“The circumstances of this case are extraordinary,” Schwartz said. “Judge Worley did the right thing.”

A few months earlier, another judge, Ventura County’s Ryan Wright, handed down a strongly similar verdict — this time to Shirck for the murders of Phyllis Porter, 82, and her 59-year-old daughter, Margaret Dahl.

Dahl was Shirck’s father’s live-in girlfriend, and Shirck had moved out of their Oak View residence a few weeks earlier.

As a result, Shirck was quickly pegged as a suspect and tracked down a few hours after the double murder—during which the mother, who was visiting from Georgia, and her daughter were mercilessly stabbed and beaten.

A few months earlier, another judge, Ventura County's Ryan Wright, handed down a strongly similar verdict — this time to Shirck for the murders of Phyllis Porter, 82, and her 59-year-old daughter, Margaret Dahl.

A few months earlier, another judge, Ventura County’s Ryan Wright, handed down a strongly similar verdict — this time to Shirck for the murders of Phyllis Porter, 82, and her 59-year-old daughter, Margaret Dahl.

Had Shirck been convicted of murder, he could have faced a sentence of 52 years to life, but as was the case with Spejcher, he was only hit with a conviction of involuntary manslaughter.

Had Shirck been convicted of murder, he could have faced a sentence of 52 years to life, but as was the case with Spejcher, he was only hit with a conviction of involuntary manslaughter.

The decision came after defense attorneys argued Shirck was intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness during the attack on August 24, 2019

The decision came after defense attorneys argued Shirck was intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness during the attack on August 24, 2019

Had Shirck been convicted of murder, he could have faced a sentence of 52 years to life, but as was the case with Spejcher, he was only hit with a conviction of involuntary manslaughter.

The decision came after defense attorneys argued Shirck was drunk to the point of unconsciousness during the attack on August 24, 2019.

Several experts also testified that the convict – who spent four years in prison while awaiting trial – also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to physical abuse he suffered during his childhood.

Jurors ultimately found prosecutors did not meet the burden of proof required for a murder conviction, and instead convicted Shirck of involuntary manslaughter.

That, along with court delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, meant Shirck was released the same day he was sentenced to time served, according to court records.

Relatives of the victims were quick to speak out about the maneuver and what they saw as injustice.

“We are very disgusted, sick to our stomachs,” said Amanda Dahl, Margaret Dahl’s daughter-in-law.

‘I don’t think the justice system has done us justice. I don’t think 3½ years for the murder of two women is a punishment.’

“This is not justice,” Dahl said. “It’s not right with me.”