A judge ruled Wednesday that a Long Beach man was insane at the time he murdered his fiance last year.
“The court has found the defendant insane at the time of the offense,” Superior Court Judge James D. Otto said shortly after Colin Chandler Wolters pleaded no contest to second-degree murder.
The judge said he based his finding on reports from two doctors who were appointed by the court to examine the 37-year-old defendant.
Wolters was charged with the March 16, 2020, strangulation of Chelsea Smith, 27, at the couple’s apartment in the 4600 block of Whitewood Avenue in the Lakewood Village area.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene by Long Beach Fire Department personnel.
Wolters immediately surrendered to officers and has remained behind bars ever since.
Speaking just as the hearing came to a close, the defendant said he loved Smith “with all my heart” and that she “deserved all the joys that life has to bring.”
He said his fiancee knew about his history of mental illness.
“I am so sorry for your loss,” he told the victim’s family members.
The woman’s aunt, Susan Tate, said at the hearing, “Chelsea didn’t deserve this. We don’t deserve this nightmare.”
Speaking directly to the defendant, the victim’s aunt asked, “Why did you do that to her? She was nothing but nice to you. …You know you were perfectly sane when you brutally killed our sweet Chelsea.”
Wolters is due back in a Long Beach courtroom Jan. 14, with the judge expected to hear additional victim impact statements from other members of Smith’s family.
The judge noted that Wolters could potentially spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.
Deputy District Attorney Peggy Kane said after the hearing that what happened was a “horrible, horrible tragedy.”