Arizona man accused of decapitating wife emits howl in court
PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix man who authorities say decapitated his wife and two dogs and gouged his own eye out let out a moaning howl in court after a prosecutor told a judge what the man had allegedly done, according to video released Monday.
Kenneth Wakefield appeared in court Saturday after being released from a hospital and booked into jail on suspicion of murder and animal cruelty. He had a large bandage in place of a missing hand, which police said he had cut off.
A judge set bond for Wakefield at $2 million after a prosecutor called the 43-year-old, who has a history of mental illness, a danger to the community.
In the video, Wakefield raises his right hand to his face, lowers his head and emits a two-second howl after the prosecutor said Wakefield repeatedly stabbed and decapitated Trina Heisch.
In a court document released Monday, police say 49-year-old Heisch was stabbed multiple times in her torso and had “defensive wounds to her hands and arms.” Investigators also found several bloody knives and a large amount of blood throughout the couple’s central Phoenix apartment.
Wakefield acknowledged stabbing her multiple times before decapitating her, police said. He also told investigators he smoked marijuana and synthetic marijuana about an hour before the attack on Heisch.
“He said he was trying to get the evil out of Trina,” police said in the probable cause statement.
Wakefield did not have an attorney when he appeared in court, but the judge, Commissioner Alysson Abe, said one would be appointed for him before his next scheduled appearance on Friday.
The grisly attack scene was discovered July 25 by a neighbor who went to check on the couple and said Wakefield answered the door naked and covered in blood.
Records from a state psychiatric review board indicate Wakefield spent a decade in a state mental hospital after stabbing a relative in 2003. He was found “guilty, except insane” on charges of attempted second-degree murder in the attack, a verdict that spared him prison.
In November 2014, the board issued an order for county prosecutors to try to extend his stay. The board’s chairwoman has said the panel did everything it could in the case to ensure community safety.
Maricopa County prosecutors acknowledged last week that it was unsuccessful. The office was unable to proceed because of “evidentiary issues,” according to spokesman Jerry Cobb.
Wakefield was approved for release 10 months ago by the board based on a belief that his mental health disease was in remission and that he wasn’t dangerous if he lived in a residential treatment program.
Heisch also had a history of mental illness. A judge found her to be “guilty, except insane” on charges of attempted second-degree murder in the stabbing of her 15-year-old son while he was sleeping in 2000. She was ordered to spend 10 years in the state hospital.
It was not clear what specific mental illness either has suffered from.
Associated Press writer Terry Tang contributed to this report.