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EVERETT, WA — A woman in Washington was in court yesterday, answering to accusations that she tried to cut off her sleeping husband’s head with a reciprocating saw.

Police arrested 44-year-old Renee Bishop-McKean last October after her husband, Brett Bishop, told them that she had just tried to kill him. He told them that he had awoke to the sound of the Sawzall reciprocating saw that his wife had in her hands, and was in the process of pressing against his neck.

After pushing her away and jumping out of bed, Bishop says he fought with McKean to get control of the saw. “Renee came at me in the kitchen with the Sawzall raised up, we had a struggle over it,” said Bishop. “She kept pulling the trigger to make it run, so I reached out and pulled the battery out of it.”

Not quite ready to call it a loss, the criminal complaint states McKean swung a hatchet at Bishop and hit him in the back of the head with a mallet. When police arrived at the home they could hear Bishop screaming at his wife. “It was you, it was you,” Bishop could be heard shouting. “You tried to cut my head off. You’re going to jail.”

McKean told police that, despite what her hysterical husband was claiming, she had not tried to kill her husband. In fact, she had probably saved his life. She told police that an intruder  broke into their house and was trying to kill her sleeping husband with the electric saw. The intruder escaped out their daughter’s window just as she had wrestled the saw away from him, and just as her husband had woke up and found her standing over him with it. She did admit to hitting her husband with the other tools, but only because her husband was attacking her.

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Investigators had a hard time believing her story, especially since the window she says he intruder escaped out of was secured with a child-proof lock. But a shut window and a husband’s testimony where not all prosecutors needed to charge McKean with first-degree attempted murder and first degree domestic violence assault. There’s also the fact that police found a layer of black plastic underneath the bed sheets, as well as an abnormal number of large aluminum roasting pans, towels, and bottles of bleach inside the house.

There was also McKean’s past behavior. She has two felony convictions from a 2001 incident in which she and Bishop got into an argument and she fired a gun inside their apartment. Then, one month before she allegedly tried to remove her husband’s head, she had accused him of poisoning their son with anti-freeze. The boy was checked out at the hospital where it was determined he had not been poisoned.

Concerned for her mental health, social workers temporarily removed their two children, both under the age of 10,  from the home and Bishop moved out at the same time. The night of this latest incident was Bishop’s first night back. To add insult to the relative minor injuries Bishop suffered from that October night, McKean is refusing to give him a divorce.

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