Kaylynn Blue | Courtesy Image
IDAHO FALLS — One year ago today, Kaylynn Blue took her last breath as the man who was supposed to love her allegedly stabbed her to death and buried her in the backyard.
Philip Michael Schwab, 33, is accused of killing Blue on June 23, 2019. Schwab remains in the Bonneville County Jail awaiting trial this fall on a first-degree murder charge.
Schwab and Blue, 33, met in Colorado before moving into a home on Thayer Bridge Circle with Schwab’s mother. Both have minor mental disabilities and were unable to live on their own, according to family members.
Court documents outline the disturbing details recounted by Schwab to detectives after he was arrested June 24. Schwab said that days before the stabbing, he had placed a knife in a dresser drawer. He then posted hundreds of bizarre messages on his Facebook page.
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At 6:30 p.m. on June 22, Schwab allegedly wrote on his profile, “If stabbing someone is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” Most posts about violent behavior followed.
Six hours later, the couple was sleeping in bed when Blue began thrashing around, according to court documents. Schwab said Blue was accidentally hitting her, so he got out of bed, grabbed the knife and stabbed Blue in the neck. As he continued stabbing, she ran from the bedroom into the hallway and entered the bathroom.
Detectives work to uncover the body of Kaylynn Blue at an Idaho Falls home in June 2019. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com
Schwab told detectives he continued the knife attack until he killed her.
Afterward, he turned on a hose to soften the ground in the backyard, then dragged the body outside and buried Blue in a flowerbed, according to court documents.
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After killing Blue, Schwab stabbed two dogs to death before placing them in a garbage bin in the garage.
After missing several shifts at work, Blue’s co-workers alerted family members who requested police do a welfare check. Around 9 a.m. on June 24, officers were greeted by Schwab at the door. They noticed blood in the house and quickly realized a serious crime had likely occurred.
Schwab told the officers he might have hurt Blue and then directed them to the backyard, where he said he had buried her. He admitted to killing Blue, according to court documents.
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Officers observed a recently dug shallow grave in the backyard. Blue’s face was still visible above the dirt and detectives noted cuts on her face and neck.
Kaylynn Blue and Philip Schwab | Courtesy images
In the following months, Schwab pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge after waiving a preliminary hearing.
As the judicial process has unfolded, court documents filed by Schwab’s defense attorney say he struggles to understand legal proceedings because of a disability. The documents say Schwab was diagnosed with 22q 11.2 deletion or DiGeorge Syndrome. One symptom of the syndrome is developmental delays causing difficulties in understanding.
According to the National Institutes of Health, DiGeorge Syndrome symptoms vary widely from person to person. An estimated 1 in 4,000 people are diagnosed with the disorder. People with the syndrome are at an increased risk for developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
Because of this, a judge has allowed special visits between Schwab and his mother at the jail so she could help him understand the legal proceedings.
Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Clark declined to pursue the death penalty despite the “overwhelming evidence in the case and “utter disregard for human life.” Clark wrote Schwab’s disability and IQ of 76 makes issuing the death penalty unwarranted.
Philip Schwab | Bonneville County Jail
While prosecutors say Schwab’s DiGeorge Syndrome is mitigating, under Idaho Law the condition does not impact Schwab’s legal competency, according to court documents. Additionally, Idaho law passed in 1982 states “mental condition shall not be a defense to any charge of criminal conduct.”
Prosecutors visited with Blue’s family, who indicated they don’t want the state to seek the death penalty against Schwab. Although family wishes are considered, the burden of intent to seek the death penalty falls to the prosecutors, according to Idaho law.
Schwab remains in jail without bail and is scheduled for a two-week jury trial set to begin Sept. 28.