A 50-year-old Los Altos woman who allegedly sheathed herself in bubble wrap and tried to stab her estranged husband to death because she was jealous of his new girlfriend could face 15 years to life in prison, according to prosecutors. A plea hearing has been scheduled Oct. 4.
Laura Jean Wenke Sept. 15 used a stun gun on her 48-year-old husband and stabbed him with a folding knife in the neck and chest while he was looking something up on the computer at the Redwood City construction company they owned together, according to San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Wagstaffe said the two, who have an 8-year-old son, were going through an “acrimonious” divorce. He also apparently had a $2 million life insurance policy, on which Wenke was the beneficiary, Wagstaffe said.
“If she were able to get away with it, she would have walked away with $2 million,” he said.
Wagstaffe said that on the evening of Sept. 15, Wenke parked her truck to block a window that peered into the company’s offices. She then went inside and asked her husband, whose identity hasn’t been released, to look something up on the computer. While he was at the computer, Wenke, who Wagstaffe said wore a mechanic’s suit over her bubble wrap, used a stun gun on him and stabbed him repeatedly in the neck and chest.
He has since been released from the hospital after sustaining a punctured lung and knife wounds.
Wagstaffe said Wenke may have worn the bubble wrap as a defense in case her ex-husband took control of the stun gun and tried to use it on her.
“This is a wild case,” Wagstaffe told the Town Crier. “If you tried to put it on a T.V. show, it would get rejected in Hollywood – no one would ever believe it.”
Redwood City police arrested Wenke inside the company after they found the husband bleeding in the street. She is being held in jail without bail.
Her defense attorney, Brian Madden, said in a phone interview Tuesday that he was just beginning to prepare a defense and couldn’t comment yet.
“It’s too early for me to give a meaningful comment,” he said. “We’re beginning our own investigation.”
Wagstaffe said the “enormous” amount of premeditation in the incident makes it a relatively straightforward case. But determining the motive may prove more of a challenge.
“You sit there and say, ‘Whoa. What do you do to make someone want to kill you?’” Wagstaffe said.