Police in California say the man who confessed to killing his foster grandparents had been influenced by radical Islam.
Nathaniel Scheiern, 35, admitted to killing and trying to behead 77-year-old William Wiliam Scheirn and 82-year-old Verna Scheiern with an ax and hammer while he was living with the elderly couple in Glendale, the Los Angeles Times reported. The grisly murders happened June 24, 2015, after the three had attended church together on a weeknight.
According to the Times, authorities have said he was "infatuated with and influenced by radical Islamists" when he attacked the couple.
Scheiern was involved in a car crash the next day and was being treated at a nearby hospital up until June 28.
Scheiern's sister had called police asking for them to check up on her grandparents just days before the man's release from the hospital. When authorities arrived at the house, they found two decomposing bodies under a sheet on a twin bed. The carpet and walls were covered in dried blood. The front door to the home was left open, and several newspapers were also stacked outside.
Upon Scheiern's release from the hospital, he was arrested on the suspicion of murder. The 35-year-old later confessed to police that he did, in fact, kill his foster grandparents. Scheirn's public defender, Christina Behle, has tried to make the case that her client was molested by his grandfather in the 1990s, but police, who investigated those allegations at the time, maintain they are just that — allegations.
According to the Times, Scheiern had moved in with the couple in August 2014. He had previously lived in Colorado.
Scheirn reportedly attacked his 82-year-old grandmother first, but when his 77-year-old grandfather got between the two, the 35-year-old launched fatal attacks on both individuals.
Just last week, a judge ruled there was enough evidence against Scheirn to go to trial.
Scheirn is currently being held on no bail. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
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