An Arizona man accused of decapitating his wife and their two dogs moaned and swayed back and forth during his first court appearance Saturday as a prosecutor described the crimes.
Besides the courtroom footage, records obtained this week showed that Kenneth Wakefield, 43, allegedly admitted to police that he killed Tricia Heisch, 49, while “trying to get the evil out” of her in their Phoenix apartment last month. Authorities hadn’t previously released Wakefield’s name.
Police wrote in a probable cause statement that Wakefield also said he’d smoked marijuana and the synthetic drug “spice” about an hour before the killings.
Video released Monday showed Wakefield’s first court appearance since he was transferred to jail from a hospital, where he was being treated for injuries he’d allegedly given himself during the gory crime.
His left arm was bandaged below the elbow, and in the video Wakefield’s left hand appeared to be missing. Police say he chopped off part of his own limb at the crime scene. In addition, Wakefield’s right eye is missing in his booking photo. Police say he gouged it out.
Wakefield interrupted the court hearing on Saturday with a brief but loud howl as a Maricopa County prosecutor explained why she’d asked the judge, Commissioner Alysson Abe, to set bond at $2 million.
“The defendant stabbed the victim multiple times before ending up decapitating her in addition to two of the animals,” said the prosecutor, as Wakefield’s groan could be heard in the sparsely populated courtroom.
Wakefield is being held on suspicion of murder and animal cruelty.
A neighbor called police on July 25 after going over to the couple’s apartment, where Wakefield answered the door naked and covered in blood. Police found Heisch and the couple’s dogs in a closet. There were bloody knives scattered around the apartment.
At the time, police said, Wakefield admitted to killing “three family members.”
Wakefield has a history of mental illness. He’d been released from a state mental hospital 10 months before Heisch’s death. Wakefield had served a 10-year sentence in the psychiatric hospital for stabbing another family member.