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Defense: Alleged Rapist, Murderer Had No Plan to Kill

Mickey David Beauchamp Wagstaff, 27, is charged with first-degree murder with a sentence enhancement for sexual assault. His attorney says he should be charged with a lesser crime.

A man who stabbed his fiancée to death wasn’t aware of what he was doing, a public defender said today.

Mickey David Beauchamp Wagstaff, who is charged with first-degree murder for the February 2009 stabbing of his fiancee in the back of her van, didn’t mean to kill, his attorney told jurors as the trial opened this morning.

“You have to be careful to not let your emotions replace your objective thinking about the case,” Public Defender Renee Rupp told jurors. “Is this murder or manslaughter? Is it second degree, first degree, or is it murder with special circumstances?”

Wagstaff, 27, could face life in prison without parole if he is convicted of first-degree murder with a sentence enhancement for sexual assault in the killing of Elizabeth Kellenbarger Amirian. Second-degree murder and manslaughter carry lesser sentences.

Wagstaff and the Amirian were stressed and fighting in the van on Feb. 10, 2009, the defender said. After Wagstaff punched Amirian in the face, the couple laid down in the back of the van and had consensual sex, she said.

Prosecutors alleged Wagstaff raped his fiancée after the fight. To read more about the allegations, .

Wagstaff stayed with Amirian in the van for the next two days, praying and reading from the book “The Hiding Place,” Rupp said. On Feb. 12, when a police officer knocked on the van window and asked Wagstaff to open the door, the defendant grabbed a hunting knife and stabbed Amirian 39 times.

Wagstaff had a “blank stare” on his face after the murder, stabbed himself in the lung with his knife and did not respond to officers after they used a tazer on him, Rupp said.

“There’s no question about cause of death, or who caused it,” Rupp told the jury. “We have to make sure ... the defendant is convicted of the right charge, and this is what we're here to do.”

Jennifer Cartell November 16, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Carrying the hunting knife says it all. Not a pocket knife but a long hunting knife. Also, why would a person rape a woman he was intending to marry--he no longer was planning to marry her? Such a tragic case and loss of a valuable person. First degree, premeditated murder charges. My condolences to the family of Elizabeth.
Jennifer Cartell November 16, 2011 at 04:07 PM
One more big question in my mind. When and where did he purchase the hunting knife? Did he actually hunt?
Samantha November 16, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Yeah that sounds really believable, I know after I get punched in the face I usually like to have consensual sex too. Mickey David Beauchamp Wagstaff - I hope you rot in hell. I never knew Bipsy well but I know she had the voice of an angel and her love and passion overflowed. She was a beautiful person and I know many people loved and cared for her. I hope this trial brings justice to her, her family and her friends.
temeculan November 17, 2011 at 11:41 AM
.....by the neck until dead. May God have mercy on your soul.
Tonto November 17, 2011 at 02:06 PM
Better outlaw and/or regulate all knives.
Nettie Nettie Bobettie November 18, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Totally agree with you John!
Matt Pierce November 18, 2011 at 05:16 AM
I knew Bipsy, and not a day goes by that I don't miss my friend. I'm not much for the death penalty, I am however for the concept of exile. Put him in the center of the mojave with a quart of oil and no water, and leave him to become food for the vultures, he deserves no less for what he's done to one of the sweetest girls I've ever known
Magnolia Mayhem November 22, 2011 at 03:39 PM
None of you trolls know anything about this case. God isn't interested in your idea of judgement.
Anchises November 29, 2011 at 05:27 PM
The knife was a gift from his uncle. Yes, he did hunt often. I also keep many tools in my vehicle, including knives, and yes sometimes that includes hunting knives.

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