PHOENIX (AP) – A Phoenix woman who police believe was decapitated by her husband was in a marriage that neighbors said was fraught with public fights.
The killing was discovered Saturday when a neighbor went to check on 49-year-old Trina Heisch.
Investigators say Heisch’s 43-year-old husband opened the door nude and with several self-inflicted injuries, including a severed left forearm and a missing eye.
“I didn’t realize his arm was cut off until probably a minute or two into the conversation,'” neighbor George Loney told The Arizona Republic. “He told me he killed three of his family members but that God had forgiven him so it was OK. ‘Let me have a drag of your cigarette’ he kept telling me.”
The husband’s identity hasn’t been released by police, who say he will be arrested once he is released from a hospital where he was listed in serious condition.
No motive for the killing has surfaced.
“I don’t think that we are going to know the answer to that,” police spokesman Trent Crump said, adding that the suspect acknowledged in an interview with investigators that he killed his wife and mutilated himself.
Police were called to the couple’s apartment five times in recent months.
Officers dealt with a June 20 argument between Heisch’s husband and a neighbor. In another instance, the husband claimed Heisch had stabbed him, but officers learned that wasn’t true.
Two weeks later, Heisch was booked on suspicion of aggravated assault but no charges were filed.
Neighbor Heather Enderton told the Republic that she often saw the couple outside yelling and had called police numerous times.
After five calls in three months, she said, a comment from a dispatcher about taxpayer dollars discouraged her from making further calls.
“He made me feel as though there was nothing to be done,” she said. “I felt like if an officer told me there was nothing for him to do, that there was no reason for me to report it any more. They weren’t protecting her or us.”
Enderton heard yelling Saturday but didn’t call police.
“I assumed it was them. That was their thing; that’s what they did,” she said. “But I didn’t do anything about it.”
Mark Vinci, a 20-year resident of the neighborhood, told The Associated Press that the small apartment complex where the couple lived has been a problem over the years, including being a site of a meth lab that was busted about six years ago.
Court records show that Trina Heisch was sentenced to 10 years in a state mental hospital for stabbing her 15-year-old son in 2000 while he was sleeping. Her son suffered injuries that weren’t life-threatening.
A judge found her to be “guilty except insane” of attempted second-degree murder and felony child abuse. The verdict spared her a prison sentence.
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