Suspect in Whidbey Island stabbing case was convicted for similar crime in 2011

The suspect of a Nov. 13 fatal stabbing in Oak Harbor had also been convicted of a nonfatal stabbing

A 38-year-old Oak Harbor woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death Nov. 13 was previously convicted of stabbing a previous boyfriend in California in a case with many similarities, according to court records.

The Whidbey News-Times obtained court documents from the 2011 California case through a public records request.

Ilene Maria Erwin is currently being held in Island County jail on $500,000 bail in the killing of 37-year-old Ryan A. Crumal at a home on Crosby Avenue. Prosecutors charged Erwin with murder in the second degree, a domestic violence crime.

The filing includes a deadly weapon enhancement.

In the Oak Harbor case, Erwin told police that she and Crumal had been drinking vodka during the island-wide power outage that day and started arguing. She claimed he suddenly straddled her on a couch and started beating her. She said she got away, went into the kitchen to retrieve a kitchen knife, returned to the living room and stabbed him, the report states.

Erwin called 911 and reported the stabbing. She was crying when police arrived and repeatedly said she was sorry and didn’t mean to hurt Crumal, according to the police report.

The previous case occurred in December 2011. That victim told investigators that he and Erwin were fighting in the kitchen and he had pushed her down. She then grabbed a kitchen knife, swung it and slashed him on the abdomen, cutting deep enough to expose fatty tissue.

The man said Erwin told him she was sorry and she didn’t mean to do it. She later told investigators that it was an accident; she claimed she grabbed the knife when her back was to the man and cut him as she turned around.

The young children were at the house at the time. One of the children told police that she witnessed the stabbing.

The man drove himself to a fire station and was taken to a hospital, where he told doctors that he had accidentally cut himself. He spent seven days in the hospital. Count documents indicate that police started investigating nearly two weeks later after a referral from Child Protection Services.

The 2011 victim described an extremely dysfunctional relationship with Erwin with so many instances of domestic violence that they all “blended together” over three years. He said they both used methamphetamine and had struggled to kick the habit. He admitted to investigators that he repeatedly cheated on her, and he said that caused her to become suspicious and angry.

The man said Erwin had extreme rage issues and had assaulted him with a Maglite flashlight and a screwdriver, kicked doors off their hinges, punched walls and left holes, bashed his windshield with a fire extinguisher and drove erratically with children in the car while she was high.

Yet he also said he was as much at fault for the fighting as she was.

“It was one ridiculous event after ridiculous event. Being on dope not drinking water and not eating is a big factor,” the man reportedly told investigators.

In the 2011 case, Erwin pleaded guilty to infliction of corporal injury on a spouse as part of a plea bargain. She spent 140 days in jail. Her probation period as extended several times because she violated terms of her release by using meth, drinking alcohol and possessing drug paraphernalia.