LOGAN, Iowa (AP) — A judge on Friday found an Iowa teenager not guilty by reason of insanity in the killing of his 5-year-old foster brother, after the teen testified that he had powerful fantasies and thought at the time that he was killing a goblin.
Harrison County District Court Judge Kathleen Kilnoski issued her decision shortly after closing arguments in the bench trial of 18-year-old Cody Metzker-Madsen. The teen had waived his right to a jury trial.
Metzker-Madsen was charged with first-degree murder in the August 2013 death of Dominic Elkins. Authorities said Metzker-Madsen, who was 17 at the time, killed Dominic while they were playing outside of their home in the western Iowa community of Logan. The boy's body was found at the bottom of a ravine.
An autopsy showed Dominic died of blunt-force head injuries and drowning.
Metzker-Madsen testified Wednesday that he thought he was in a fantasy world with slightly different colors and smells than the real world, and that at some point, he saw an army of "green, ugly little creatures."
He said the goblins were fighting people he knew and compared the scene to a video game he played. He said he didn't know it was Dominic when he pushed his head into the water at the bottom of the ravine while hitting him with a brick.
Prosecutors argued that Metzker-Madsen gave different stories for why he killed the boy and was able to lead his foster family to Dominic's body.
Metzker-Madsen also faces an assault charge, as authorities say he bit a jailer on Tuesday.