A judge declared a mistrial on Wednesday in a northern Virginia murder case in which the defendant said he thought his victim was a werewolf.
The Alexandria Circuit Court jury deadlocked on whether Pankaj Bhasin, 34, was guilty of murder or not guilty by reason of insanity, The Washington Post reported.
After killing 65-year-old Bradford Jackson, who managed a window store in Old Town Alexandria, Bhasin told doctors he thought Jackson began turning into a werewolf. He told police there was “still time to save 99 percent of the moon and planets,” the Post reported according to court records.
Attorneys agreed Bhasin is mentally ill and viciously slashed and beat Jackson last July, local station WRC-TV reported. Five doctors diagnosed Bhasin with bipolar 1 disorder, the Post reported, but prosecutor David Lord said Bhasin exaggerated his symptoms to excuse the killing.
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Bhasin stabbed Jackson 53 times with a box cutter, WRC-TV reported, and also broke his neck. His attorneys said Bhasin was suffering from delusions at the time and had checked out of a psychiatric hospital days before driving to the area from his New Jersey home, the station reported.
Friends and family members testified Bhasin was a successful and kind person until last spring, the Post reported. A few months before he killed Jackson, Bhasin drank urine and gasoline because he said doing so would save the world, according to the testimony.
Whether authorities put Bhasin on trial again will be decided next week, Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter told the Post.
“We will continue to pursue a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity allowing him to get the help he so clearly needs in a secure state mental health facility,” said defense attorney Peter Greenspun.