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State v. Crenshaw

Washington Supreme Court
659 P.2d 488 (1983)



After Crenshaw (defendant) was deported from Canada after getting into a fight while on his honeymoon, he waited for his wife to arrive at a hotel in Washington. When she arrived two days later, Crenshaw thought she had been unfaithful and he beat her unconscious in the hotel room. Crenshaw then went to a nearby store, stole a knife, and returned to the hotel where he stabbed his wife 24 times. Subsequently he decapitated his wife with an ax he borrowed from a farm where he had been employed. Crenshaw cleaned the hotel room of blood and disposed of his wife in a remote area 25 miles away. He then fled. While in flight, Crenshaw picked up two hitchhikers, told them of his acts and asked them for their help in disposing of his wife’s car in a river. The hitchhikers contacted the police and Crenshaw was apprehended shortly thereafter and confessed to the crime. At trial, Crenshaw asserted an insanity defense. He testified that he followed the Moscovite religious faith which required him to kill his wife if she committed adultery. It was also shown that Crenshaw had a history of mental illness and hospitalization. Crenshaw was found guilty of first-degree murder and he appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brachtenbach, J.)

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