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Court Case: Man Cuts Out Friend's Heart After Taking Mushrooms

  1. Phungushead
    WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC CONTENT: Defense will try to thwart first-degree murder charge for Klamath murder suspect

    Accused killer Jarrod Wyatt's defense attorney will take the unusual step of trying to present enough evidence at a pre-trial hearing next week to cap or throw out the murder charge prosecutors are seeking for the brutal slaying.

    Wyatt is facing first-degree murder charges for killing his friend Taylor Powell, 21, at a home outside of Klamath on March 21. A Del Norte County judge will determine after the preliminary hearing whether District Attorney Mike Riese presented enough evidence of murder -- and of aggravated mayhem and torture -- to put the case before a jury.

    But Wyatt's defense attorney James Fallman will present what is known as an affirmative defense, in which the defense can call its own witnesses in an effort to show that the first-degree murder charge should be reduced to a second-degree charge or be thrown out altogether. Fallman would not say whether he intends to mount an insanity defense, in which the defendant must be shown to be unable to distinguish right from wrong, or to understand the nature of his act.

    Wyatt has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

    Riese said that he could try to exclude the evidence Fallman brings to the preliminary hearing, but may decide not to object and gain insight into Fallman's strategy, which he likely wouldn't otherwise get until 30 days before the trial.

    ”I want it sooner than later,” Riese said.

    According to a statement of probable cause filed with Del Norte County Superior Court, deputies arrived at a Fizer Road residence in Requa during the early morning hours of March 21, after a man reported seeing Wyatt, a 26-year-old mixed martial arts cage fighter, in the living room with Powell's apparently dead body.

    The man, Justin Davis, had been there earlier in the day and saw Wyatt acting strangely after drinking “some kind of mushroom tea,” according to the statement. Davis left for Crescent City, but returned later to pick up his dog. Davis arrived to find Wyatt standing in the living room naked and covered with blood, according to the statement. Wyatt told Davis, according to the statement, that he was going to cut out Powell's heart. Davis went to a nearby pay phone to call law enforcement.

    A deputy arrived at the residence and reportedly saw Wyatt on the couch with Powell's body, which was covered in blood and had most of its face removed. A large incision in the chest could be seen, and other unspecified body parts had been removed. An eyeball was resting in the middle of the room, according to the statement.

    Wyatt allegedly told the deputy that he'd cut Powell's heart out and thrown it into the fire.

    Powell's death certificate reads that he died from having his heart removed while he was still alive, causing him to bleed to death. It also lists as significant blunt force trauma to the head and neck, and compression of the neck.

    The deputy reported finding blood throughout the house, making the entire residence a crime scene. Large indentations in the sheetrock in the bathroom could be seen, the statement said, which appeared to have been made by the back of someone's head.

    What appeared to be wild mushrooms were in the kitchen, the deputy reported. The deputy also discovered a marijuana garden in the house when he went to search for additional victims, the statement reads.

    According to the statement, Wyatt was read his Miranda rights and transported to Del Norte County jail, where Wyatt repeatedly said he'd killed his “Taylor.”

    The defense strategy of mounting an affirmative defense at the preliminary hearing, say legal experts, can be risky, but it can also be a means to motivate a plea bargain. The defense must show that the majority of its evidence goes to disprove the charge, a higher bar than the prosecution must meet to show there is sufficient probable cause to support the charge.

    Law professor Franklin Zimring, who directs the criminal justice research program at University of California at Berkeley Boalt Hall's Earl Warren Legal Institute, said that there doesn't seem to be much doubt over who did what in Wyatt's case.

    ”The question is criminal responsibility,” Zimring said.

    Zimring said that showing one's client was insane at the time of a murder could be a means of showing that a trial is likely to be long and complicated, which can be a motivation to press the prosecution to plea bargain.

    On the other hand, the defense presenting evidence at a preliminary hearing can reveal the strategy it intends to pursue at trial -- but months before it otherwise would have to. The defense does not have to turn over its discovery until 30 days before the start of a trial, which in Wyatt's case could be a year or more away.

    Stanford Law School Criminal Justice Center Academic Director Robert Weisberg said that the value of the affirmative defense in a case like Wyatt's is not necessarily to prevent the case from going to trial, but rather to persuade the judge to cap the charge at second-degree murder. The defense may try to show that the evidence of premeditation -- a necessary element in many first-degree murder cases -- is substantially lacking, possibly due to a “lack of clarity of consciousness” from using drugs, Weisberg said.

    Fallman would not say why he is seeking an affirmative defense, and said he can't comment on Wyatt's current mental state. Fallman said that he's going to exercise all viable plea options, and that he has not been approached with any reasonable plea agreements yet.

    In another twist, Justin Davis -- likely a key witness -- was arrested last week at his Crescent City residence near a city administrative building on suspicion of growing marijuana, possessing marijuana for sale, possession of a dangerous weapon and a parole violation.

    Both Fallman and Riese said that the arrest would make no difference to their cases.

    The preliminary hearing is currently scheduled for May 26.

    Posted: 05/20/2010 01:30:25 AM PDT

    John Driscoll/The Times-Standard


  1. missparkles
    So basically, cos this man had wild mushrooms and marijuana in his possession, that's what caused him to commit this horrific act. Perhaps if he'd had a fridge full of orange juice, and a garden full of potatoes, we'd now be seeing possession of orange juice and potatoes as illegal?

    Or perhaps this was just an evil man, committing a terrible act, who is now capitalising on the BS spin that most governments throw out to the uninformed public? After all, if this man has been told that drugs are bad and turn you into an animal, he possibly feels he's gonna win this case if he uses that as a justification?

    Still BS though.

  2. Sippin40oz
    i hope they lock him up and throw away the key! Drugs should not be used as an excuse for a crime IMHO especially in case like this one. My pet zebra has taken countless shrooms of many different varieties and has never even felt a violent thought against anything not alone had the urge to cut out a beating heart! Sounds like a pretty sick individual i cant even begin to imagine what would drive someone to do something like that. :s
  3. ScorpioSunshine
    Ugh. This is sickening.

    It's always someone's fault, or something's fault -- "I was on drugs, not my fault!"

    What happened to personal responsibility?

    As others have stated, it's just grabbing onto an excuse (the mushrooms) and using that to justify an abhorrent act, and in the process shuns his own responsibility (assuming he is guilty) and plants more seeds in the "all drugs are evil" sect.
  4. KingMe
    then again, if he were to state that "oh no, the mushrooms had nothing to do with it" the rest of the people would jsut go on sayng that they did anyway.

    it is the nature of the media surrounding such cases to sensationalize everything about them. drugs will draw the short stick nomatter what, unfornately
  5. reylids
    This is extremely disturbing and is continuing to add a bad reputation to mushrooms..I dont even know how that would commence to happen during a trip..RIP
  6. Phungushead
    WARNING THIS STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT!! Klamath suspect Wyatt will answer to murder charges

    Court testimony outlines events leading to slaying

    [IMGL="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=14894&d=1274988807[/IMGL]CRESCENT CITY -- Witnesses in Del Norte County Superior Court on Wednesday laid out a chaotic series of events surrounding a March killing in Klamath, weaving a twisted picture of a drug-filled night that led to the alleged torture and slaying of a 21-year-old Crescent City man.

    The accounts of the night are clouded by statements made by the four people in the house at the time of the incident or leading up to it, all of whom are believed to have taken psychedelic mushrooms. The victim and the suspect, according to the testimony, became preoccupied with the idea that a tidal wave was coming, that the end of the world was upon them and that a struggle between God and the devil was taking place.

    Del Norte County Superior Court Judge William Follett ruled after hours of testimony that there was sufficient evidence to hold Jarrod Wyatt, 26, in the alleged murder of his friend Taylor Powell. Wyatt will also have to answer to charges of aggravated mayhem and torture.

    The prosecution called two Del Norte County Sheriff's deputies to testify about what they found at the Requa house in which the killing took place in the early morning hours of March 21. The prosecution also called a detective who interviewed Wyatt after his arrest. The defense, in a move to dilute the charges against Wyatt, called his ex-girlfriend, who was at the residence that night and witnessed some of the events before Powell's death.

    Under questioning by Del Norte County District

    Attorney Mike Riese, Sgt. Elwood Lee said he was dispatched to Requa on March 21 to meet a man who had reported a stabbing nearby. Lee met the man, later identified as Justin Davis, who took them to the Fizer Road house in question. When Lee entered the house, he noticed what he believed to be dried blood on some cabinets in the entryway, and broken glass on the floor. Drywall had been discovered on a wall, Lee said. He heard someone mumbling in the living room, and saw a foot sticking out from a couch.

    Lee testified that he saw a man, later identified as Wyatt, standing near a body on a couch, naked and covered from head to toe in what appeared to be dried blood. Wyatt said,

    ”I killed him,” Lee said.

    Lee was able to cuff Wyatt without incident, and then he proceeded to look at the body on the couch. The body had had the majority of its face removed, and an 18-inch incision in its chest cavity. Lee said that he did not attempt first aid because he could see the man was dead.

    ”At one point,” Lee said, “(Wyatt) asked if we were God, or if we were God coming to save him.”

    Lee said that Wyatt said he'd cut out Powell's tongue, and that he'd removed his heart. He also mentioned that there had been a “big fight” in the kitchen. Wyatt told him that when he'd looked at Powell's face he'd seen the devil, Lee said.

    Deputy Enrique Ortega, there with Lee, said that he took Wyatt to his cruiser and put him inside.

    ”He (Wyatt) said, 'Take me to the hospital, Enrique, I'm covered in the guy's blood,'” Ortega said.

    Ortega also testified that he cuffed Wyatt's ex-girlfriend Billy Jo Bailey, who was found in the bedroom of the house. Davis was also detained. Testimony later revealed that Davis had been at the house earlier, then left to go to Crescent City, after Wyatt tried to get him to stay and even jumped on his car as Davis left. Davis returned later to get his dog, according to testimony Wednesday, when he discovered someone straddling another person in the living room talking about cutting off a tattoo. That's when he reportedly went to call police.

    Detective Ed Fleshman testified that he interviewed Wyatt in a holding cell at the Del Norte County jail at around 6:30 a.m. on March 21. Wyatt was still naked and covered in blood, Fleshman said. Fleshman testified that he read Wyatt his Miranda rights, and that Wyatt understood them. Wyatt then told Fleshman that he, Powell, Davis and Bailey had drank mushroom tea earlier that night. When Davis went to leave Fleshman said, Wyatt tried to stop him because he was concerned that a tidal wave was coming.

    Wyatt went on to tell Fleshman, that Powell had held him down, saying he (Wyatt) couldn't be saved.

    Fleshman said Wyatt then began rambling at the jail, apparently mixing up the order of events, and said that he'd cooked Powell's body parts in the wood stove at the Fizer Road residence. Wyatt told him that he had been tormented by spirits in the house, Fleshman said.

    Lee said that in a second interview shortly afterward, Wyatt told him that Powell had told him that the world was coming to an end. During an altercation, Wyatt told him, Powell had him in a chokehold from behind and that Wyatt felt he couldn't get up. The two had trained in mixed martial arts together, Lee said Wyatt told him.

    In continued rambling, Lee said that Wyatt told him that “Satan was in that dude.”

    Lee said that Wyatt told him he'd done some bad things, and that he'd cut Powell's heart out and burned it because he felt that Powell was still alive and he was trying to “stop the devil.”

    Lee also said that he did not believe Wyatt was under the influence of a hallucinogen. But Bailey, who Lee said he interviewed after Wyatt, appeared to be under the influence, and had a difficult time putting any order to the events of the night. She also told Lee, according to his testimony, that she thought Wyatt may have been upset with her and was “taking it out” on Powell.

    Called to the stand by defense attorney James Fallman, Bailey said that the evening of March 20 started at a bar in Crescent City, where she met Wyatt and drove with him to the Requa house. Powell and Davis followed soon after, she said. Bailey said she had met Powell three times before, and had never met Davis.

    Bailey said that Wyatt was in a good mood on the way to Klamath. When Powell and Davis showed up, the three men began making mushroom tea, and they all tried it. Powell and Davis had a difficult time stomaching the concoction, she said, and Bailey said she was teased by Davis that she should drink the tea or be the only sober one there. She testified she drank some and then lay down on the couch.

    Bailey said that the three men went outside, and then Wyatt came to the door saying that something was “burning his eyes.” Davis was trying to leave, Bailey said, and Wyatt was trying to prevent him from going. Wyatt then yelled to Powell to get him his guitar. Powell's behavior had changed since he'd taken the mushroom tea, Bailey said, and he responded harshly to Wyatt's demand.

    He said, “You wanna f'ing die,” three times, Bailey said.

    She then heard what she believed to be Wyatt and Powell wrestling on the kitchen floor, then talking about surfing. Bailey then said that she saw Powell standing over who she believed to be Wyatt, and that Powell was spitting on him. Bailey testified that she heard sounds she thought were sexual in nature, though she said it could have been something else.

    But Bailey appeared to have a difficult time putting the events in chronological order. At one point, she said that the lights in the house were out and she'd covered her head with the hood of her shirt. Bailey said she felt “pressure” on her legs, and Powell's voice saying that he could see her face. She sensed that someone was pointing a sharp object at her.

    At that point, Bailey said, she heard glass breaking in the kitchen. She said she was afraid of Powell, and that she left the room and went to the bedroom, and that she felt she needed to be protected from Powell. At some point later she could see Wyatt curled up in a ball on the floor of the living room.

    Under cross examination by Riese, Bailey said that she realized something had happened to Powell when she saw Wyatt curled up on the floor with Powell on the couch.

    ”I didn't know what to think, what I even just saw,” Bailey said.

    Bailey said that while her initial recollection of the night had been disjointed, she later was able to put together the events after talking about it with her self.

    The first-degree murder charge that Wyatt faces hinges in large part on his intent. Premeditation, or acting with “malice and aforethought,” must be shown to uphold the charge.

    Fallman said that the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing showed that Wyatt was having a psychotic break and couldn't form the intent that would make him responsible for premeditated murder. Fallman also tried to say that Wyatt overreacted, trying to defend Bailey after he discovered Powell pushing down on her legs.

    ”My client was trying to silence the devil,” Fallman said.

    But Follett said that he had no evidence to support the claims that Wyatt had had a psychotic break.

    Riese said that the act of mutilating Powell's body itself took a substantial amount of time and showed evidence of intent, and that the removal of Powell's face showed extreme, callous indifference.

    Follett agreed that Powell's death did not occur immediately after he had reportedly put pressure on Bailey's legs while she was on the couch. Follett ruled that there was enough evidence showing Wyatt had committed all three crimes he is charged with -- and that he'd used a deadly weapon in committing those crimes -- to hold him to answer to the charges.

    Wyatt is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

    Posted: 05/27/2010 10:09:23 AM PDT
    Updated: 05/27/2010 11:16:59 AM PDT

    John Driscoll/The Times-Standard
  7. EscapeDummy
    Clearly the guy was a fucked up individual, which is where most of the blame lies... but surely some of you don't truly believe the mushrooms had nothing to do with it? In the article Phungus just posted, the guy claims he saw Satan or some BS - swim doesn't have a hard time believing that a mentally unstable man could hallucinate seeing some sort of great evil or satan, and attempt to kill said evil. Swim has friends who have seen scary, terrifying shit on psychedelics. None of them committed violence, but swim also thinks they are mentally stable. Suffice to say, had he not consumed the mushrooms and 'seen the devil', he presumably would not have ripped out his friends heart.

    On this site, and on erowid, swim has read several reports about psilocybin mushrooms where a user or friend became very agitated and violent. Of course these are very rare compared to the number of good/not horrible trips, and also happen on other psychedelics, but for some reason, swim has read more instances of such occurring on mushrooms, perhaps statistically due to the fact it is the most commonly taken psychedelic. Either way swim thinks the existence of bad, violence-inducing reactions to mushrooms is indisputable. Swim will gladly link to a few stories from this news section, the rest of this site, and from Erowid if anyone wishes to see evidence.
  8. missparkles
    The point is, this isolated incident will be taken, it will be expanded upon, and it will be spun, and in the end it will be believed that anyone who uses these mushrooms is gonna behave this way, so they must be protected from them. If this really were the case then alcohol would be illegal, and no one would be able to possess it. Cos think about how many people get drunk and go on to commit sickeningly violent acts?

    Hell, I imagine more people get a bad reaction from most legal drugs, even some OTC preparations, than do on mushrooms. The point I was making earlier in this topic is not that mushrooms are completely benign, but by comparison, they're possibly one of the least harmful ones, and this is a case of double standards.

  9. Phungushead
    Calif. man to plead guilty after cutting out friend’s heart while high on drugs

    [IMGL="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=28081&stc=1&d=1347116992[/IMGL] A Northern California mixed-martial artist accused of ripping out his friend's heart and removing his tongue while the two were on hallucinogenic drugs has pleaded guilty to murder and mayhem charges.

    Jarrod Wyatt, 27, of Klamath agreed to a plea deal in which he will serve two consecutive sentences of 25 years to life in prison, Del Norte County prosecutors said. His official sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4.

    “The earliest he'll be able to see a parole board is 2062,” District Attorney Jon Alexander said.

    The agreement was reached Thursday night, four days before his trial was to begin in Crescent City, the Eureka Times-Standard reported Friday.

    Mr. Wyatt pleaded guilty to first-degree murder involving mayhem for the March 21, 2010, death of his sparring partner, 21-year-old Taylor Powell, prosecutors said.

    When police arrived that day at a home at the mouth of the Klamath River, they found Mr. Wyatt naked and covered in blood. He told the officers, “I killed him,” and said he had cut out Mr. Powell's heart and tongue, according to court documents.

    The officers found Mr. Powell's body on the couch of the Requa home. His chest was cut open, and his heart, tongue and the skin of his face were gone, court records said. His heart was found charred in a wood-burning stove.

    An autopsy determined the organs had been removed while Mr. Powell was still alive, the documents said.

    Witnesses say the two had ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms before the attack and believed they were involved in a struggle between God and the devil.

    Mr. Wyatt had entered duel pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity, prompting psychiatrists to evaluate his mental competence. In May, a judge ruled Mr. Wyatt was competent to stand trial.

    Friday, Sep. 07 2012

    Associated Press
  10. Alfa
    Who knows. In a murder case the stakes are extremely high and drugs can be the excuse for a temporarily insanity defence.
    I have read many reports and investigations into similar cases, and its clear that you can't believe much in such cases unless there has been a blood analysis and other definitive evidence.
    It will probably not be long before anyone claims that bath salts had to be involved as an unknown factor.
  11. mickey_bee
    I'd question the sanity of a person who, whether on hallucinogenic drugs or not, does something like this, for no logical reason.

    It's understandable that he'll milk the temporary insanity card as much as possible - but in my opinion, that's the fault of the justice system and society as a whole for their ignorance about illicit drugs. Were the general public, law enforcement and the courts given science-based information on the effects of drugs, using drugs as an excuse for a crime such as this wouldn't generally be possible.

    This is a mental health issue. A secure mental institution would be far more fitting for someone like this than prison as far as I'm concerned, (and from the little you can discern about the man from these articles).

    As a (relatively) sane person, I do occasionally have to fight the urge to commit crimes based on making a fast buck, or 'crimes of passion' etc. etc. But I don't have to fight the urge to mutilate and kill my friends/acquaintances, whether high or not.

    That said, drugs can and in my experience, many times have, 'pushed people over the edge'. So it's hard to say how much of this crime was based on latent mental problems, and how much was the result of the drugs. Either way, incomparable to, for example, a drug dealer who tortures and kills a rival dealer, for 'logical' financial reasons.

    I'd love to say it's just because some people are 'evil'. But unfortunately, people, and their individual reasons for making certain choices are far more complex than that. And determining a persons' sanity is currently something that is a very long way from being an exact science.
  12. Alien Sex Fiend
    they have different photos?
    seems like there are more people a bad trip forcibly makes mad(or they were a bit bonkers and this pressure stressed them to come out raging)
  13. RoboCodeine7610
    That was exactly what I was thinking when I read the title, bathsalts have been murdering a lot of people lately...

  14. Titillium
    A quote from a comment on an article on boingboing:
    Now, I've tried googling this a bit, and haven't found one single article mentioning the alleged meth and coke use before drinking the mushroom tea. I did find a testimony by Wyatt stating that he has used meth some years earlier (and interestingly, also saying that he had some years ago encountered the case prosecutor in a meth party of some sort), but nothing regarding stimulant use just before the brutal incident.

    Anyone remember/able to find any article or other source confirming these claims?
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