ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man who said he was looking for a "portal to hell" was sentenced to 36 years in prison Friday for stabbing three people in a backyard.
Morgan Mesz, of Union Township, was convicted in February of attempted murder and other charges.
Mesz stabbed two women in 2011 and then a male neighbor who intervened with a souvenir baseball bat. The women, who suffered critical injuries but recovered, testified at Mesz's trial and said he told them he was looking for "the portal to hell" in their yard.
During his trial, Mesz's attorney had said his client smoked synthetic marijuana and couldn't understand his actions.
According to the Union County prosecutor's office, Mesz entered a shed in the backyard early on the morning of Jan. 7, 2011, and began throwing its contents out.
When the two women went to investigate, Mesz attacked them with a hatchet and knife. Seeing the attack, neighbor Hernan Agudelo grabbed the bat from his car and used it to subdue Mesz until police arrived.
Mesz was sentenced Friday to consecutive 16-year sentences for the attempted murder charges, plus a four-year term on an aggravated assault charge.