General Crime

Richard Stefanik Accused Of Killing Wife Said He Was Trying To End Her Suffering In Los Gatos

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An 80-year-old man accused of murdering his wife in their Los Gatos home last month told his son he stabbed her to end her pain from recent surgery and then tried to kill himself, according to a police detective.

Detective Jamie Field of the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department wrote in a statement of facts filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court that defendant Richard Stefanik appeared to have stabbed his wife and then himself when officers arrived at their home on Dover Court on Oct. 25.

Officers found Richard Stefanik touching the hand of his wife Lois in the master bedroom, where they both lay on a bed and “appeared to have been bleeding excessively,” Field wrote.

Los Gatos police received a report at 10:27 a.m. on Oct. 25 from the couple’s son at their home in the 100 block of Dover Court in east Los Gatos near Blossom Hill Road.

Their son told officers he had discovered the pair bleeding in their bedroom, saw his father holding a knife and at first believed both had died, but then thought his father might still be breathing, according to the detective.

The son said his father told him that “he could not watch his wife … in pain anymore so he killed her” and the son “advised that his father had a significant wound to his stomach,” Field wrote.

He directed police and fire personnel to the couple’s master bedroom, where paramedics pronounced his mother dead at 10:36 a.m., police said.

Lois Stefanik recently had bladder surgery and the previous night was the first she and her spouse had spent alone together since the procedure, Field said.

Her husband and a caregiver were assigned to care for her and other members of the family would check on them, but their son said that his calls to them that morning were not answered, so he went to the home, according to police.

In the bedroom, police saw Lois Stefanik lying partially on the bed with “a large amount of blood on various parts of her body,” Field wrote. “Blood spatter could also be seen on the wall directly in front of where she was lying.”

Richard Stefanik, also partially lying on the bed, was touching her right hand with his left hand and held a bloody fixed-blade knife in his right and had a large open wound in his abdomen and bloody wounds on his neck, hands and arms, the detective wrote.

He told officers and fire personnel that he wanted to die, did not want medical treatment “and that he had killed his wife,” Field wrote.

A police officer removed the knife from Richard’s hand and placed it on a table before medical first responders arrived. Police had received no prior reports of disturbances or domestic disputes or any other calls for service at the Stefaniks’ home, Field wrote.

Richard Stefanik was arrested on suspicion of murder and was arraigned in Superior Court on Nov. 3. Prosecutors added an enhancement for allegedly using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony, according to court records.

San Jose-based Ken Mandel, listed as Stefanik’s defense attorney, could not immediately be reached for comment today.

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