JACKSON (AP) – A southern Michigan man who authorities said beheaded his 59-year-old neighbor was found not guilty by reason of insanity on Wednesday.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson made the ruling following a brief bench trial for Leo Kwaske, MLive.com reported. With the ruling, Kwaske is to be placed in a mental institution.
“Although Mr. Kwaske is clearly guilty for these heinous crimes … I have to find him not guilty by reason of insanity,” Wilson said.
Defense lawyer Jerry Engle told The Associated Press that there was nothing else the judge could do, given the circumstances. He said that a state mental facility is the only place to ensure that Kwaske would get appropriate treatment. In prison, Engle said Kwaske could be a threat to himself and others.
“I suspect most people suspected from the minute they heard the details,” Engle said.
Shirley Meeks’ body was found Oct. 15 in her Jackson apartment, about 70 miles west of Detroit, and authorities said her head was found in Kwaske’s apartment. Kwaske was charged with felony murder, mutilation of a dead body and first-degree home invasion.
Doctors had determined Kwaske was competent to stand trial, following treatment, but was insane at the time Meeks was killed.
Kwaske told doctors, according to information presented in court, that Meeks “was dark voodoo, negative energy” and “I needed to stop her or she would cause Armageddon.”
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