Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dad may play mental health card in 2011 murder of 3-year-old son (Syracuse, New York)

Dad is identified as MARCELL WASHINGTON.

Will Syracuse man who killed son to rid him of 'the Shatan' plead insanity?

By Douglass Dowty on April 10, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Syracuse, NY -- A Syracuse man who admitted to police he killed his 3-year-old son to rid him of "the Shatan" could plead not guilty by reason of mental illness.

But that wouldn't spare Marcell Washington from custody in the death of Ameen, who Washington admitted drowning to death in the shower in November 2011.

In fact, Washington could face a lifetime in a psychiatric hospital, instead of 25 years to life in prison if convicted of murder. Under state law, his sentence would be determined by mental health workers and not a judge.

Washington said he thought the devil, or Shatan, had entered his toddler son.

"I did this because I wanted to kill the Shatan that I believed was in my son," Washington explained later. "I thought by killing a portion of Ameen, it would kill the Shatan in him."

After forcing the child under cold water for 10 minutes, Washington put the limp boy's body in the bedroom.

Washington's case was delayed two years as mental health doctors examined the suspect while in jail. To accept a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, County Court Judge Anthony Aloi has to be convinced Washington isn't faking his condition.

Defense lawyer Thomas Ryan has said that Washington was "nearly incomprehensible" after the arrest, but has improved with mental health treatment.

The judge today adjourned the case until May 12, noting a possible resolution to the case at that point.

Washington was indicted on a murder charge.