Sanity hearing canceled for man who says God said to kill

AP News
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Posted: Feb 02, 2018 1:41 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A hearing to evaluate the sanity of a Louisiana man who his lawyer said believes God ordered him to kill his 18-month-old daughter so he'd be executed and resurrected as Christ was canceled after his murder indictment.

Mark Hambrick, 46, was to have had a "lunacy hearing" with a magistrate Thursday, but his indictment on charges of first-degree murder and second-degree cruelty sent the case to Criminal District Court.

After Hambrick's arrest in the Oct. 17 death of Amina Hambrick, the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office found him "acutely psychotic" and sent him to its psychiatric wing at a state prison, according to a motion for psychiatric examination filed by his lawyer.

The motion also says Hambrick is being treated but "retains a detailed, nuanced delusion regarding his death and resurrection as Christ explaining why God commanded him to kill his daughter."

"Mr. Hambrick's interactions with undersigned counsel, as well as his desired outcomes for his case, are viewed entirely through the prism of this delusion. ... The delusion determines how he understands and assesses the facts and nature of the case and is interfering with his ability to rationally and competently assist the undersigned counsel in his defense," public defender Barksdale Hortenstine Jr. wrote.

He said in an email Thursday night that he cannot comment on open cases.

Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office spokesman Ken Daley said Hambrick's defense attorney can request an evaluation order from the judge who gets the case in criminal court.

Hambrick called 911 the morning of Oct. 17 to report that he had killed the toddler, according to a news release Thursday from the DA's office.

"Hambrick told investigators he had stabbed the child four times in the heart with a serrated kitchen knife, then held her for nearly five hours waiting for her to bleed out," the statement said. "When the toddler girl failed to succumb to her stabbing injuries, Hambrick said he suffocated her to end her life."

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said prosecutors had not decided whether to ask for the death penalty. Execution and life in prison are the only possible sentences for first-degree murder.

Hambrick had been held without bond since his arrest. After reading the indictment Thursday, Criminal District Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson set bond at $1.5 million.