Martinez: Woman Who Claimed to Perform Exorcism on Victim in Bizarre Killing Gets 6-Year Sentence

A woman who killed her boyfriend's housemate during a bizarre meth-fueled episode in which she claimed to be performing an exorcism on the victim was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday.

Karla Kuhl, 36, of El Sobrante, was sentenced in a Martinez courtroom this afternoon after pleading no contest to one count of voluntary manslaughter for the killing of 68-year-old Patricia Medeiros in her San Pablo home last year.

The defendant, who was originally charged with murder, reached a plea agreement with the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office in the case after evidence arose that the killing was not a crime of malice, according to Deputy District Attorney Simon O'Connell.

Standing in a partitioned area of the courtroom behind bars as the sentence was read this afternoon, Kuhl did not show any emotion.

Prosecutors said the killing occurred in the early morning hours of June 5, 2012, when Kuhl was visiting the house shared by her boyfriend and Medeiros in the 6000 block of North Arlington Avenue in San Pablo, as she often did.

A short time after her arrival, Kuhl got into an argument with Medeiros, then went into a bedroom to smoke meth with her boyfriend, O'Connell said.

Later, the defendant and victim argued again, but witnesses at the home said they heard Patricia's voice become muffled toward the end of the squabble.

Kuhl's boyfriend and Medeiros's nephew, who also lived at the house, called police after finding the victim's lifeless body on the living room couch covered by a blanket, a kitchen chair, a statue of the Virgin Mary and a bible.

Meanwhile, Kuhl fled, driving to a nearby church where she disrobed and doused herself in holy water, the prosecutor said.

Police located her later that day at her El Sobrante apartment where she gave an hours-long, drug-fueled confession in which she claimed she had performed an exorcism on Medeiros to rid her of "evil spirits," O'Connell said.

She was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to county jail in Martinez.

An autopsy found that the victim died of blunt force trauma and asphyxiation.

In court Thursday afternoon, Judge Clair Maier and Kuhl heard from some of the Medeiros's loved ones, who described her as a kind, compassionate woman with a quirky sense of humor.

"I think of how my aunt felt in those last minutes of her life," the victim's nephew, Donald Severn, said. "I can feel the fear she felt as she fought for her life."

Michele Trujillo, the victim's close friend, said Medeiros's death has taken a major toll on her emotional and physical well-being.

"I have lost my support system," she said.

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