Alleged Killer of Temecula Musician Ready for Trial

A man accused of killing a popular singer-songwriter is ready for trial, a judge said today.

A man charged with killing a Temecula musician is ready to stand trial, a judge said today.

Mickey David Beauchamp Wagstaff, 27, of Pala, was charged with the fatal stabbing of his fiancée, Elizabeth “Bipsy” Kellenbarger Amirian, 27, of Temecula, after raping her in his minivan at the Promenade mall, according to court records.

If convicted, Wagstaff could face life in prison without parole.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer scheduled the trial for Aug. 8 during a hearing today.

Rape and murder charges

The incident happened on Feb. 12, 2009, on the third floor of the mall’s parking garage, according to prosecutors.

Wagstaff forced Amirian to stay with him for two days before the alleged assault. He bound her ankles to keep her from running away and drove her to several locations before parking in the mall’s garage and raping her, according to sheriff’s investigators.

The couple had been arguing before the attack about their wedding plans and whether sex before marriage was acceptable, investigators testified during previous hearings.

Moments after the assault, sheriff’s Sgt. Keith Knotek walked up to the van, responding to a call from mall security, and tapped on the window. Wagstaff saw the sergeant, then pulled out a knife and started plunging it into the woman, Knotek testified during a hearing in 2009.

The sergeant smashed the window and shocked the defendant with a Taser. Wagstaff was subdued, but the knife attack lasted about a minute, and Amirian suffered from 39 stab wound in the head, back and neck, Knotek said. She died at the scene.

The defendant had no plans to kill his fiancée, but panicked when he saw the sergeant, defense attorney Renee Rupp argued during a previous hearing.

Her fans knew her as Bipsy

Amirian was a pianist and singer who played at various venues from Temecula to Escondido under the name “Bipsy,” a nickname she got from a childhood nanny, she said during an interview before the stabbing.

Her music was moody, and her vocals were angelic. Her heroes were Tori Amos and Kate Price, she said.

Her lyrics conveyed her unique spirituality, a kind of Christianity blended with some Jewish practices.

When she was killed, she was almost finished recording her first full-length album, called “BattleCry,” which she wrote and produced herself. Her music is still online at www.myspace.com/beatnikbipsy.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Jamie March 28, 2011 at 03:36 PM
Bipsy was very dear to me as I got to know her well while she dated my son, many years ago. She had an innocence about her (reclaimed after a rebellious lifestyle) that did give her an angelic quality. Her music, art, dress, and freedom of expression of soul, as well as her loving and positive nature made me smile and love to be in her presence. She was a gifted artist on many levels and allowed those gifts to take root and flourish, like a wild garden overtaking a mountainside with color. She shared her hopes and dreams with me, of becoming a wife and mother one day. I loved Bipsy, and still do. She is a sweet and vibrant soul that I hope to embrace again one day, when God allows.
Isaac September 03, 2012 at 11:58 PM
For crying out loud, the article makes it sound like she invented her own religion. She was a Christian and believed the Bible. "Jewish references" are in her music because the entire Bible is a "Jewish reference". Jesus was Jewish. Bipsy was a Christian who attended all kinds of Bible-believing Christian services, including Messianic Jewish services. She loved the Hebrew symbols and imagery, as lots of Christians do. It's crazy when you read about something you KNOW about in the media, and realize how wrong they get things. Makes you realize how wrong they are about things you DON'T know about, too.
Mirna Alfonso (Editor) September 04, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Peter Surowski was a friend of Bipsy's and therefore knew of what he spoke.
Isaac September 09, 2012 at 04:56 AM
I am her brother, and I, the rest of her family, and her friends know that he spoke wrong, althought I'll assume that it's just a confusing choice of words. "Unique spirituality, a kind of Christianity blended with some Jewish practices" creates the impression that Bipsy just picked and chose elements that she liked from various beliefs. She would be horrified to be perceived that way. Something like, "Bipsy was a dedicated Christian" would be correct and not misrepresent the beliefs that were so important to Bipsy. If you want to share Bipsy's unique lyrical style, then something like, "her lyrics conveyed her unique way of expressing Christianity, filled with Biblical Hebrew references." would have accurately conveyed Bipsy's religion by only changing a couple of words.
renee September 09, 2012 at 05:36 AM
im sad to have seen this on tv, but glad to have heard her story. bipsy, seemed to be a well ajusted, smart and full of life. my question is why when the police pulled up and they saw them, why didnt he shoot him through the window so he didnt get a chance to kill her? such a waste of a good life. im sorry for her family and friends..god bless
Angela September 09, 2012 at 09:25 AM
My condolences Isaac, I understand how frustrating it is too lose someone, and have the media, or news tell the story with false information. The story on Idiscovery said she attended the seventh day Adventist church, they make the church look like a judgemental cult, I grew up one, they are nothing like that, I have angel wings tattooed on my chest. The news online depicts her differently, and because the news makes allegations of her interest in Judaism, as if she was planning to become one. Stuff like this would get under my skin too. My cousin drowned in cancun, on her spring break class trip. She drowned when someone swimming during high tides was stuck in an undertow yelling for help. She jumped in and was able to pull him out, unfortunately she was sucked in and it pulled her under, spit her against a cement wall. The news caught wind of this and wanted the story, they bombarded my aunt in her front yard for the story, but my aunt couldn't stop crying, she wanted nothing to do with the news. They news people were pissed, and decided they would say whatever they wanted, my cousin had sun poisoning at the time, which everyone said made her weak and harder to swim with harsh undertows. It was early in the day, but the news would say that she had been drinking, and was most likely drunk at the time. Very upsetting.People should respect the family of this beautiful women who lost her life at the hands of a coward, "real men don't use violence".
That Temecula Guy September 12, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Just wondering- why didn't the officer shoot the guy? A one minute stabbing? 60 seconds or more is an eternity in an assault. I wouldn't have hesitated in drawing on him.
Grammysam September 20, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Maybe the Temecula police only use Tasers... maybe they dont get to use bullets, like our soldiers...
cece kadri October 28, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Hi my name is cece. This has broken my heart for Bipsy and her family. I'm in a very dark place right now myself and as i watched this episode on ID TV last night , I actually cried for her. I can't even imagine what she was going through as she was looking at the man she loved and the man that was about to take her life. Believe it or not, she is actually saving my life , as I'm watching the story and reading all the articles. Going through such a rough childhood and then thinking, she found the man of her dreams that would protect her from her past present and future , as well as her gift of art and music , I'm watching myself through her. The strength your child ,your sister ,and your friend has given me right now ,is huge. I don't have to put up with it just because I love him. Love is not supposed to hurt and I'm so sorry he took that precious precious life away that had so much hope for our future. Although I don't have a clue who she is or was, I feel such a strong connection with her. My deepest sympathy for you and your family. I'll pray for your hearts.
Effie October 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM
I also watched the story on ID yesterday and like some others, wonder why the police didn't immediately shoot the guy when he started stabbing Bipsy? Bipsy seemed like an amazing person and a free spirit. But if her family can take any solace in this, it's to know that Bipsy is in heaven and she's singing with the angels.
Linda Compton November 03, 2012 at 02:23 PM
What a "Beautiful" soul. I'd like to thank her parents for releasing her album and sharing her light with the world.
Laura Hokenson January 16, 2013 at 07:18 PM
I recently saw this episode i investigate discovery channel. I have been haunted ever since. I also found that I really love her music. And I too, am a Christian with many christian beliefs. I was hoping to find somewhere to purchase her music. It so touched my heart. A reply back would be wonderful! I am so sorry for your loss. I recently had my uncle shot in execution style because he was a police sergeant. It truely can be a very cruel world!
Jessica January 30, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Im am so sorry for your loss, she.seemed like a sweet girl just by washing her and listening to how she is/was but she had alot going for her it seems and im sorry you had to deal with this isaac, that man who so-called loved her didnt really love her or even could know what love was because if he did he wouldnt been able to have killed such a sweet innocent girl and im happy hes behind bars. My prays are with you and your family god bless!
Modera April 19, 2013 at 06:39 AM
"...because the news makes allegations of her interest in Judaism, as if she was planning to become one." As a Jew, I find that kind of offensive. I have been involved in Messianic congregations and all types of denominations where the bulk of the people were born again (or supposed to be) and yes, born-again Christians who read their Bible know that when they accept Jesus into their hearts that they are adopted into God's family and don't have to go out and convert to Judaism to be accepted by God. But even if it IS misinformation in Bipsy's case, I certainly don't think there's anything criminal about the idea of someone actually wanting to go out and convert to Judaism! There are some Christians who have decided to do that for one reason or another -- usually I would think so that they could be a special type of witness to Jewish people.
Modera April 19, 2013 at 06:54 AM
Just thinking about that awful minute and what it must have been like for Bipsy and for the police makes me feel so angry and frustrated and choked up! According to what they were saying on the TV show, I think that the thinking was that one can't be sure if the criminal has a gun on him or not, and the policeman was supposed to be waiting for backup. I wasn't clear about whether he really knew for sure at the time what was happening? He saw pretty quickly that the guy was holding a knife, but I'm not sure if he knew there was a live woman next to him then being actively stabbed. Still, I would like to know a little bit more about how/why he could not stop the attack.
Isaac April 25, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Thank you all for the kind words about our sister! Modera, thank you. I agree with that. The real issue was that the story creates the fictional impression that Bipsy wasn't sincere about looking for the truth and believing it, but that she just "followed her heart" or whatever and made up a patchwork religion for herself. That's the very opposite of who she was. She embraced a lot of elements of Jewish culture because those are not inconsistent with Christianity at all, as you pointed out. But she didn't have a "kind of Christianity" mixed with anything; she was a Bible-believing Christian who happily fellowshipped with all kinds of evangelical Christian churches, as a guest musician or to tell her story. The thing that is disappointing is that the same reporter who wrote this also appeared on television telling a flat-out made up story that Bipsy rejected Biblical Christianity and made up her own faith by "picking and choosing different things" from various religions. This inspired groans and shakes of the head from all of her friends and family. Apparently if a person is dead, you can lie about them to fit your own preferred narrative, since they aren't around to say otherwise? Just seems shady. I understood that he knew Bipsy, and that makes it all the more disappointing.


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