A 38-year-old woman is accused of stabbing her fiance multiple times with a kitchen knife and causing fatal injuries during a Friday, Nov. 13, power outage on Whidbey Island, according to court documents.
Ilene M. Erwin told police that she stabbed 37-year-old Ryan A. Crumal at their Oak Harbor mobile home after he beat her, the affidavit of probable cause states.
Crumal died after being airlifted to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett for treatment of six stab wounds, the report states.
Erwin, who had a large contusion on her forehead, appeared in Island County Superior Court Monday and Judge Vickie Churchill found probable cause existed to believe Erwin committed murder in the second degree, a domestic violence crime.
Churchill set Erwin’s bail at $500,000.
Island County Deputy Prosecutor Michael Safstrom argued for the large bail amount. He said Erwin was convicted in California on a prior domestic-violence assault that was “notably similar” to the current case.
Erwin stabbed an intimate partner in the stomach in 2011, he said.
In addition, Safstrom said there was a risk that Erwin would flee if released on bail. He noted that she may face as much as 18 years in prison if convicted of the murder charge and that she has “somewhat tenuous ties to the community.”
Erwin and Crumal moved to Oak Harbor from Oregon only two years ago, Safstrom said, but she does have a couple of family members in the area.
Erwin’s sister and mother appeared at the court hearing. The sister addressed the judge, saying that Erwin’s ex-boyfriend whom she stabbed in California was willing to come to court and say that he had provoked the assault.
But in the end, Churchill found that Erwin presented an inherent risk of flight and followed the prosecution’s recommendations.
According to the police report, Erwin called 911 at 7:51 p.m. to report she had been beaten up by Crumal and she had grabbed a knife and stabbed him. She told the dispatcher that it was very dark because of the power outage and she was trying to find something to stop the bleeding.
Five Oak Harbor police officers responded to the mobile home on Northwest Crosby Avenue. They found Crumal on his back near the doorway next to a large pool of blood. Erwin was crying and telling Crumal that she was sorry, the report states.
The police report describes Crumal as having a sucking chest wound and five additional wounds to the back of his left shoulder area.
Officers also noted a large amount of blood on a blanket and other items near a love seat, as well as bloody footprints to the kitchen and hallway.
Medical crews transported Crumal to WhidbeyHealth Medical Center, where a LifeFlight helicopter was waiting to take him to Providence. The helicopter had to return to WhidbeyHealth because paramedics had to perform CPR on him. He was stabilized and then successfully airlifted to Providence, where he died at 11:19 p.m., the report states.
At the jail, Erwin was interviewed by a detective. She told a detective that she and Erwin had planned on visiting her sister that day, but the power outage changed the plans. They ended up at home and drank some tequila that night. They started arguing. Crumal straddled her on the love seat, told her he was going to hurt her and started punching her, Erwin told the detective.
Erwin said that she had been in an abusive relationship in the past.
“It triggered something in me,” Erwin told the detective, according to the report. “I didn’t mean to hurt him. I love him with all my heart.”
Erwin was able to get out from underneath Crumal and went into the kitchen to retrieve a knife. She returned to the living room, she told the detective, and stabbed him multiple times on the back after he lunged for her waist; she said she didn’t remember how many times she stabbed him or if she stabbed him in the chest, the report states.
Erwin told the detective that she didn’t intend to hurt Crumal but she “just lost it,” the report states.
The detective’s report describes raised red marks on Erwin’s forehead and cheek, as well as bruises that seemed to be forming under her eye and on the bridge of her nose.