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Man allegedly tried to choke 47-year-old, terminally ill wife to death in front of her family 'because he loved' her
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Man allegedly tried to choke 47-year-old, terminally ill wife to death in front of her family 'because he loved' her

A warrant for attempted murder has been issued for a Utah man who allegedly attempted to fatally choke his wife while she lay on her deathbed.

In late 2021, 47-year-old Arenda McCulla was enduring the final throes of late-stage cancer in La Verkin, Utah, about 20 miles northeast of St. George. For this reason, several members of her family, including her husband, DeWayne McCulla, had gathered by her bedside in hospice.

The experience was agonizing for Arenda and her loved ones alike. The cancer, which initially manifested in her breast, had spread to her brain, neck, lungs, and liver, and radiation treatments left her with chemical burns that made swallowing nearly impossible.

On December 20, 2021, DeWayne McCulla, who had married Arenda less than two years earlier, allegedly decided to end her suffering himself. According to an officer with the La Verkin Police Department, DeWayne leaned over Arenda and placed "his hand over [her] neck in an attempt to ease her suffering."

Arenda's horrified family members quickly intervened and pulled DeWayne off of her as Arenda gasped desperately for air, six witnesses claimed, according to the New York Post. Arenda passed away naturally the following day.

After she died, DeWayne McCulla remained unrepentant about his alleged actions while she was alive, telling officers "he would do this again because he loved his wife," police said.

Arenda's son, Anthony Michael Ryder — who moved with Arenda from New York state to Utah in 2005 and who was by his mother's side during the alleged incident — called McCulla's claims of selfless "benevolence" "ludicrous."

Ryder told KSL that just before McCulla attempted to suffocate Arenda, McCulla had gotten into an argument with Arenda's mother, "yelling" and "fighting about ending" Arenda's life, Ryder claimed. Ryder also stated that before she died, his mother had considered legal assisted suicide in Oregon.

"She didn't die with dignity," Ryder insisted.

On Wednesday, nearly two years after Arenda's death, DeWayne McCulla, 45, was charged with first-degree attempted murder. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

It is unclear why the warrant for his arrest was issued so long after the alleged event, but KSL indicated that Ryder may have had a hand in bringing it about. "Son's complaint led to charge against Utahn accused of trying to kill terminally ill wife," KSL's headline read.

The 5th District Court, where the charge was filed, did not respond to People's request for comment.

"The loss of my mother and the traumatic event surrounding it left quite an imprint on my psyche as DeWayne was manipulating things behind the scenes, using guilt," Ryder stated to KSL.

To this day, Ryder prefers to remember the woman his mother was before she became ill. "She loved deeply, and was someone that protected vulnerable people. She spent her time volunteering at troubled youth centers, saved a few lives from drowning, choking and suicide," Ryder said.

"She tried to see the good in people."

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →