“God told me to kill the baby because he was evil” – Demand 20 years against psychotic baby-killerPOSTED: 09/26/13 1:51 PM
St. Maarten – Mark Reid was just two months old and sleeping in bed with his mother Latoya Morgan when disaster struck on the evening of April 2. Dalton Danelle L.B., a 26-year-old security guard burst into the house in a God-driven spree of madness. While the mother hid and later fled the house to call for help, the intruder grabbed the baby and did things to it that are too horrible to describe in vivid detail. In the end, the madman left the house, dragging the dead infant along by its hand or foot – that detail is unclear. When he dropped the body in an alley next to the house, he put a Bible on top of it, “because the child was evil.”
Then he picked Mark Jr. up again and threw it at officers of a nearby police patrol that had come to the neighborhood because L.B. had shortly before he entered the house crashed his car against the Wing Li supermarket.
Yesterday it was time for the defendant, who has been in pretrial custody since that fatal night, to give account. Visitors to the courthouse were screened before entry was allowed but as the trial proceeded it became clear that the defendant did not have anything to fear from the bereaved parents and their friends that populated the tribune, mostly in astonished silence.
While the local gossip press was quick to point out in April that the suspect “had no history of mental illness” it soon became apparent that this could not have been farther from the truth.
B. told the court that he received messaged from God. God told him to follow cars. God told him to break into the house. God told him to break a window to get into the house. God told him to take apple juice and an apple from the fridge and bring it to the bedroom where the baby was sleeping. God told him to feed the baby. To cut a long story short: God told him everything.
In a statement to police, the defendant said literally: “God told me the baby was evil and I had to kill it otherwise my life would never be right.” In the same interrogation, the defendant admitted that he is responsible for killing the infant.
Prosecutor Karola van Nie said that the mother had heard a loud bang when the defendant entered her house. “9, 9, 9, that is what he was saying,” the mother told investigators.
The scared mother fled the house and called for help from her upstairs living landlord. She heard her baby scream in the house, and she heard sounds that suggested the intruder was destroying the place.
Prosecutor Van Nie said that there were glass shards from a broken beer bottle near the fridge –and that some of it has been found in wounds the defendant inflicted on the baby. “There was blood everywhere. This was a well-fed and perfectly healthy baby. He had many wounds, some of them suggesting that the defendant hit his head repeatedly against a wall or a tile floor. There is only one conclusion: this baby was killed in a gruesome way than this defendant acknowledges.”
The prosecutor concluded to murder, because the defendant had had ample time to think about his actions, even though tests showed that he had been under the influence of THC – the active substance in cannabis.
Dr. Douglass examined the defendant immediately after his arrest and found no signs of psychosis, but concluded that the man was “significantly delusional at the time of the crime.” The doctor declared B. in a diminished state of responsibility, but that he could be held responsible for his actions.
“Both parent suffer day and night from the loss of their baby. The father told me: we now have a life sentence,” the prosecutor said, adding that the couple have moved away from the house in Middle Region.
Prosecutor Van Nie described B. as “a walking time bomb” and as somebody who at no time had sought help or accepted treatment and medication. “He will always be dependent on medication and there will always be the risk of a repeat.”
The prosecutor quashed rumors about a possible relationship between the defendant and the baby’s mother. DNA-tests showed that there is no relationship between the two and the baby.
The prosecutor demand 20 years imprisonment plus a TBR-measure that should go into effect after the defendant has served his sentence. Under TBR criminal convicts are put at the disposal of the government for forced treatment in a psychiatric hospital.
Attorney Shaira Bommel asked the court to forego a long prison sentence and to leave it at treatment and admission into a clinic. “Far reaching help is necessary,” she said. “My client suffers from a serious psychological disorder that affects his actions. He cannot be held responsible. He is not able to recognize that what he did was wrong.”
Prosecutor Van Nie maintained that the defendant had refused treatment and medication during his pretrial detention – in spite of attorney Bommel claiming this to be incorrect – and she also referred to the example of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass-killer who was found to be psychotic and in a state of diminished responsibility. Nevertheless, the court in Oslo found Breivik sane and guilty of murdering 77 people. It sentenced the defendant to 21 years of preventive detention. This is the heaviest sentence in Norway: convicts serve at least ten years, and the possibility of extension for as long as someone is deemed a danger to society. Breivik will most likely never be released.
The court pronounces its verdict in this case in October 16.