Published September 20, 2012
EVERETT, Wash. – A Washington state woman accused of trying to decapitate her sleeping husband with an electric saw was convicted Thursday of attempted murder.
Jurors needed only about three hours to reach a verdict in the trial of Renee Bishop-McKean of Everett. They also convicted the 44-year-old woman of first-degree assault for hitting the man in the head with a hatchet and mallet.
The jury was told the noise of the saw woke the victim last Oct. 14 and he fought his wife off. He was treated for cuts and scrapes.
Bishop-McKean told police an attacker must have entered the home through an open window, found the saw and attacked her husband. Deputy Prosecutor Paul Stern noted the window was locked so it would only open a few inches. He called the woman's theory the "Tinkerbell did this" defense.
The woman, who did not testify, shook her head in disagreement when the verdicts were announced.
Bishop-McKean faces at least 15 years in prison at sentencing set for Oct. 4.
The couple had been living apart but jurors were told the woman invited her husband over and told him to sleep on a mattress that she had wrapped in plastic, then covered with normal sheets.
Police found evidence that Bishop-McKean had purchased the saw, hatchet and mallet shortly before the attack and stockpiled bleach and a supply of large garbage bags.
"You don't need to be concerned about the `why,"' Stern said in closing arguments Thursday. "You care about the `who."'
Defense lawyer Ken Lee said prosecutors couldn't explain what happened or prove that his client was responsible. He offered three theories, including the mysterious intruder scenario suggested by Bishop-McKean.
Lee also suggested the victim might have hurt himself and blamed his wife. The defense lawyer acknowledged that option was "right out of Alfred Hitchcock."
Finally, Lee said the only other possibility was that Bishop-McKean was responsible for the attack but if so, the evidence suggests "a very half-hearted attempt" to kill.
The Daily Herald of Everett reports that tests on the tools showed DNA from both Bishop-McKean and her husband, with trace amounts from someone else. Jurors were told the trace amount likely came from someone who handled the saw at the store before its purchase.