By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - A 26-year-old Colorado man who professed to be insane when he poisoned his mother to death and drove around with her dismembered remains in his car was found guilty on Monday of first-degree murder, prosecutors said.
Ari Liggett was accused of killing his 56-year-old mother, Beverly Liggett, in 2012 by giving her potassium cyanide, then cutting up her body in the Denver-area home they shared.
On Monday, jurors rejected Liggett’s insanity defense and convicted him of murder, said Michelle Yi, spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office.
Liggett and his mother were reported missing by family members in October 2012, police said at the time. Investigators searching for the pair traced credit card receipts from purchases made by the son to western Colorado.
Days later, a police officer spotted the missing vehicle in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village. When an officer tried to stop the car, Liggett sped away and ultimately crashed the automobile into a concrete wall.
He was arrested after a brief foot chase, and police found the mother's dismembered remains in the back seat of the car.
Under questioning by police, Liggett told detectives his mother was bipolar and likely committed suicide, according to court documents.
Liggett also told officers that he could not “tell right from wrong,” declaring, "I’m insane. My psychiatrist will confirm it,” according to court records in the case.
Liggett also told police that his mother was “vicious” to him. “Every tone, every gesture was meant to humiliate, repress, and weaken me,” court documents quoted him as telling police.
Defense lawyers argued that the statements Liggett made to police were involuntary and should be inadmissible as evidence against him. The presiding judge agreed, but prosecutors appealed the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court, which ruled the statements could be used at trial.
Liggett faces a mandatory life term in prison without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced on Friday.
(Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Walsh)