The attorney for Thousand Oaks murder suspect Bryn Spejcher is asking that his client be allowed to continue practicing audiology.
Damon Jenkins of the Ventura County public defender’s office appeared in court with the accused doctor last Friday as the 27-year-old entered a plea of not guilty to one count of first-degree murder in the death of Chad O’Melia, 26.
Authorities say Spejcher, who is free on $510,000 bail, stabbed O’Melia, her short-term romantic interest, multiple times in the early morning hours of Memorial Day in the T.O. condo he shared with two roommates.
In response to a state attorney general’s recommendation that Spejcher ’s audiology practice be restricted, Jenkins objected at his client’s July 6 hearing on the grounds that she, like all defendants, is presumed innocent.
Before her arrest, Spejcher was working as an audiologist for UCLA Health in Thousand Oaks.
“I don’t see the relation between the alleged offense and the practice of audiology,” Jenkins told Judge Ferdinand Inumerable, who temporarily suspended Spejcher’s medical license but agreed to a July 12 hearing on the matter.
A recent graduate of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis with a doctorate in audiology, Spejcher was diagnosed with hearing loss at age 3. In an online video that’s now been removed, she talked about her childhood and the difficulties she had due to her disability and her eagerness to help others who have the same condition.
“I’m excited to become an audiologist,” Spejcher says in the video from 2016. “I’m ready. And I want to work with patients who have hearing loss, I want to give them hearing aids, I want to give them cochlear implants, I want to be the best audiologist that I can be.”
The Illinois native appeared in court for the first time last week since posting bail. She sat with two supporters in a crowded courtroom before approaching the defendant’s table to join Jenkins. Members of O’Melia’s family were also in the courtroom.
Spejcher stood with bandaged arms crossed in front of her and a scarf around her neck while her attorney answered on her behalf to the charge of the murder of O’Melia, who worked for an accountant in Camarillo at the time of his death. He reportedly was studying to become a CPA.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said a hand and wrist of Spejcher’s were broken May 28 when police hit her with a baton to get her to release a knife. Sheriff’s officials said they found the woman holding the blade and standing over O’Melia’s body when they entered the condo shortly after 1 a.m. after receiving a 911 call.
They demanded that she drop the weapon. When she didn’t, they tried tasing her, a department spokesperson said. Finally, they resorted to the baton.
Today’s hearing on Spejcher’s medical license will take place at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 14.
Her next scheduled court date on the murder charge is Sept. 10.