Man charged in wife’s decapitation tells police about attack
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona man charged with decapitating his wife this summer told investigators he was hearing voices when he attacked her and was trying to thwart evil when he later mutilated himself, including pulling out one of his eyes, according to recently released police reports that provide new detail of the gruesome case.
The documents include 43-year-old Kenneth Dale Wakefield’s bizarre explanations for why he carried out the attack on 49-year-old Trina Heisch in late July while he was high on synthetic marijuana and methamphetamine. He told police he was “doing it for God and the end of the world to be peaceful.”
He then explained his self-mutilation that included cutting off one of his forearms, gouging his right eyeball and stabbing himself in the chest: “Then I do what I had to do to myself: My arm, my eye, my heart.”
Wakefield also told investigators that he stabbed his wife during a fight that erupted after he decapitated one of the couple’s two dogs. He later killed the second dog.
At the time of the attack, Wakefield had been recently released from a state mental hospital after a psychiatric review board said it believed his mental health problems were in remission and he wasn’t dangerous if he lived in a residential treatment program.
The board later asked prosecutors to keep him committed at the hospital, but prosecutors say they were unsuccessful in trying to extend his stay, so Wakefield was released.
Heisch and Wakefield met while they were each serving 10-year sentences in the mental hospital for separate stabbings of relatives. Both were found to be “guilty, except insane” on an attempted murder charge.
It’s unknown whether Wakefield plans to pursue an insanity defense on the murder charge in the death of his wife. His attorney Kyle Kinkead didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday on the police reports. Wakefield has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
The police reports show that Heisch and the dogs were all found decapitated in a bedroom closet of the couple’s west Phoenix apartment. Authorities were alerted to the killings after a neighbor who came over to check on the couple found the apartment covered in blood and a naked Wakefield with self-inflicted injuries.
Officers were called to the couple’s apartment several times in the months before the attack. In some case, police say Heisch was the aggressor.
A neighbor told investigators that the couple often threatened to kill each other when they had disputes. A family member told police that both Heisch and Wakefield used drugs.
Wakefield acknowledged using marijuana, synthetic marijuana and methamphetamine on the day of the attack.
Heisch finished her stint in the hospital in about 2012, while Wakefield was released a few months ago.
In the days after the decapitation, Phoenix police had questioned the decision to release Wakefield from the hospital.
Two months after the state psychiatric review board cleared Wakefield for release, it voted to order the county prosecutor’s office to start proceedings to civilly commit him. The board’s chairman has said the panel did everything it could to ensure public safety.
The prosecutor’s office later said it tried unsuccessfully to extend Wakefield’s commitment at the hospital and explained evidentiary issues arose that prevented it from civilly committing Wakefield. The office has declined to elaborate because the case is under seal.