Phoenix man who beheaded wife and dogs gets 29 years in prison
The man at the center of one of the most grisly cases in recent Phoenix history was sentenced to 29 years in prison Friday morning, nearly three years after beheading his wife and two dogs before mutilating himself.
The hearing was emotional for all involved, with both the defendant and victim's family breaking into tears as the other spoke.
Kenneth Wakefield sobbed as he listened to his wife Trina Heisch's mother describe her daughter and the "hole" left in her heart after Heisch's murder.
"They say it gets easier, but it doesn't," Peggy Stowe told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Ronda Fisk. "I cry every night."
Stowe said though Heisch "had her problems," she was always there for her family.
She recalled the happier moments in Heisch's childhood, when she excelled at saxophone and gymnastics. She was so good at the latter, Stowe said, that her coach recommended Heisch get a personal trainer.
Now, Stowe said, she never knows what to say when people ask how many children she has.
Fisk listened intently throughout the hearing. "I think she will always be your daughter," Fisk said when Stowe finished speaking, "whether she is with us or not."
Through tears, Wakefield apologized to the family just before he was sentenced.
MORE ON THE CASE:
- The Phoenix decapitation and Arizona's 'guilty but insane' system
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- How love and chaos led to Trina Heisch beheading case
Wakefield's body served as a stark reminder of the horrors he inflicted. He wore no prosthetic for the forearm he sliced off, nor for the eye he gouged out.
"I just wanted to say I’m sorry," he said. "I can’t change it. I suffer also. She was my best friend."
Wakefield will serve 25 years for the murder of Heisch, and two years for killing each of the dogs.
Couple met at Arizona State Hospital
On the morning of July 25, 2015, Phoenix police were called to check in on Wakefield's central Phoenix home. Responding officers first met with Wakefield, and noticed his left arm had been severed at the elbow and right eye had been removed from its socket.
Heisch, as well as the couple's two dogs, were met with a more gruesome fate. Each had been decapitated and left in a closet.
Family members told The Arizona Republic that the couple had met years earlier at the Arizona State Hospital. Both had attempted to kill a family member, both received "guilty except insane" verdicts, and both sidestepped a prison sentence by accepting matching 10½-year sentences at the mental-health institution.
A police report states that Wakefield admitted to smoking marijuana and spice about an hour before the 2015 incident, and he said he stabbed Heisch in an attempt to "get the evil out" of her.
Wakefield was initially charged with first-degree murder and two counts of animal cruelty. In February, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder, as well as the two animal cruelty charges.