A suspect on trial for murder in the stabbing death of a Virginia man last year is insane, and thought the victim was a werewolf, his attorney says.
What are the details?
New Jersey native Pankaj Bhasin, 34, is accused of killing 65-year-old Bradford Jackson — an apparent stranger — in Old Town Alexandria on July 13, 2018. Police say Bhasin stabbed Jackson 53 times with a box cutter and also used a dry-erase marker in the murder that occurred inside a store the victim managed, according to WRC-TV.
Following the attack, Bhasin jumped in the back seat of a Mercedes occupied by a woman and her daughter, parked outside. He was covered in blood and wearing no pants.
"I was yelling at him to get out, screaming at him to get out," the woman recalled to WRC.
The two females hopped out of the vehicle and repeatedly locked it, trapping the suspect inside until police arrived at the scene. Authorities found the marker in Bhasin's possession, while the cap was discovered embedded in the victim's body.
In court on Tuesday, Bhasin's attorney didn't deny that his client was responsible for Jackson's death, but claimed his client suffered from mental health issues and believed the victim was a werewolf at the time of the attack, WTTG-TV reported. The defense explained that Bhasin is bipolar, and had recently checked out of a psychiatric hospital in New Jersey before arriving in Alexandria, Virginia.
"There was no connection," the lawyer said. "This was...completely random...there was no rhyme. There was no reason. There was no motive."
The defense pleaded to scrap the murder trial and suggested voluntary manslaughter would be a more appropriate charge. The judge overruled the motion, allowing the murder charge to stand.
A close friend of Jackson's reacted to the defense's argument, Bennett Moore told WTTG, "That is just unbelievable to me. I can't even fathom that. That sounds like a completely bogus defense. You know the brutality of this is just, you know, off the charts. I mean I can't imagine that that could hold up. That doesn't hold water to me."