Francis Wolke was found guilty of first-degree murder for the brutal killing of former Atherton arborist Kathy Hughes Anderson in her Menlo Park home in 2018.
The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office confirmed the jury's decision, stating that the jury concluded Wolke had used a deadly and dangerous weapon in the slaying. A sanity "phase" of the trial begins on Monday, March 6, to determine if Wolke, 30, was sane at the time of the incident.
In closing statements, Deputy District Attorney Tricia Povah made the case for Wolke's intent to murder. Povah laid out in graphic details the injuries that Wolke inflicted during multiple attempts to take the life of Hughes Anderson, including attempted strangulation.
Wolke is accused of murdering Hughes Anderson in her Menlo Park home by stabbing her in the eye with a pencil, hitting her brain. The allegation that Wolke used a deadly and dangerous weapon in this act was also found true by the jury.
Wolke also allegedly attempted to behead Hughes Anderson, and his defense lawyers alleged that he intended to engage in cannibalism. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Wolke reportedly told investigators he "wasn't very good at (it) because (he'd) never done it before."
Povah told the jury that investigators found Wolke's ankle brace, belongings and shoes on the floor of the guest bedroom. The bed was disheveled, and they believe that when Wolke was discovered in the house, he had been sleeping.
The prosecution pointed out that Wolke was not seen talking to himself and did not report any auditory hallucinations in the two weeks following his arrest. Povah argued that he showed awareness of his situation. When police officers went to enter the house to investigate, Wolke told them where to find Hughes Anderson.
"The body's in the basement," Wolke allegedly said. "I have a mental problem. I very seriously killed that woman."
Defense attorney Connie O'Brien said that Wolke believed by committing sins such as murder, he would be able to join the 1% of elite, wealthy people who he thought stay young forever. He allegedly stumbled upon Hughes Anderson in the house at which point he heard an auditory hallucination saying, "Don't bitch out. Just do it, do it."
O'Brien argued that Wolke's intent was not to kill, but to join the so-called 1%.
Wolke also allegedly told the defense investigator that he would not have committed the murder if he had found a man or a couple inside the home, according to Povah.
The earlier portion of the trial painted the picture of Wolke as obsessed with work and with misogynistic views on women.
Closing arguments ended on Feb. 28, two days before the jury's decision.
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