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Karla KUHL





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Methamphetamine-fueled "exorcism"
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 5, 2012
Date of arrest: July 19, 2012
Date of birth: 1977
Victim profile: Patricia Medeiros, 68 (her boyfriend's housemate)
Method of murder: Smothering with a pillow
Location: El Sobrante, Contra Costa County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to six years in prison on November 6, 2013

El Sobrante woman sentenced for meth-fueled 'exorcism' killing

By Malaika Fraley Contra Costa Times

November 7, 2013

MARTINEZ -- A woman who killed her boyfriend's housemate in El Sobrante last year during a methamphetamine-fueled "exorcism" was sentenced Thursday to six years in state prison.

El Sobrante resident Karla Kuhl, 36, smothered 68-year-old Patricia Medeiros with a pillow on June 5, 2012, while chanting Biblical verses and prayers. Afterward, she said that she "had to perform an exorcism to release the evil spirit from within Patricia" and went to a church, where she stripped naked and doused herself with holy water, said Contra Costa County deputy district attorney Simon OConnell.

Kuhl on Thursday pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and waived half of her credits for the jail time she's served since she was charged with murder in July 2012.

The District Attorney's Office offered her a plea deal because of uncertainty whether it could prove murder given the limited force that Kuhl applied to the frail Medeiros and the bizarre circumstances surrounding the case, OConnell said.

"She appeared to have lacked an expressed intent to kill the victim based on the fact that she was in a meth-induced state of psychosis believing that she was performing an exorcism," OConnell said.

Kuhl smoked a heavy amount of methamphetamine in her boyfriend's room before the killing. She was in the living room with Medeiros when the boyfriend and another housemate heard the two women arguing, followed by muffled sounds coming from Medeiros and chants about "releasing demons" from Kuhl.

After the boyfriend left his room to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, he found Medeiros' body on the living room couch covered in a blanket, a kitchen chair, the Bible and a religious object thought to be the Virgin Mary, OConnell said. Kuhl had also propped a cross on the frame of her boyfriend's door before returning to tell him about the "exorcism" and fleeing to the church, OConnell said.

"I think of how my aunt felt as she was fighting for her life. My heart feels broken and confused," said the victim's nephew, Don Severn, who has known Kuhl and her family for 15 years. "I hope you seek some help because the excuses that you gave, in my mind, are just not right."

Kuhl did not make a statement at the sentencing.


Woman Claims to Perform Exorcism in Bizarre Killing, Gets Six-Year Sentence

Karla Kuhl, 36, of El Sobrante, was sentenced in a Martinez courtroom Thursday in the killing of 68-year-old Patricia Medeiros in her San Pablo home last year.

Posted by Laura Dudnick (Editor) -

November 07, 2013

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 Thursday 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 Thursday 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.


Bible possibly used in woman's slaying

By Henry K. Lee -

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A woman smothered a romantic rival with a pillow and beat her - possibly with a Bible - while chanting religious passages as part of what she called an exorcism, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Karla Kuhl, 35, of El Sobrante has been charged with murdering 58-year-old Patricia Medeiros, said Contra Costa County prosecutor Harold Jewett.

Sheriff's deputies responding to an early morning medical call on June 5 found Medeiros dead in her home on the 6000 block of North Arlington Boulevard near Richmond.

An autopsy determined that Medeiros died of blunt trauma and asphyxiation. Kuhl and Medeiros had been involved with the same man "at one point or another," Jewett said. "Whether it was ongoing between both of them and that man at the time is open to some question."

Kuhl used a pillow to smother Medeiros on a couch and used a book - possibly a Bible - to beat her, the prosecutor said.

"She was chanting Biblical passages at the time of the attack," Jewett said, referring to the woman's statement to investigators.

"I'm not prepared to speculate on exactly what her motivations were for doing what she did. I think it's complex," the prosecutor said. "I know what she said, and what she said included performing an exorcism."

Kuhl is being held at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond in lieu of $1 million bail. She is to appear in Superior Court on Wednesday.



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