A man indicted in the murder of his 3-year-old son heard voices in the days leading up to the act and thought his son was possessed by the Muslim devil, he confessed to police.
Marcell Washington, 27, has been in custody awaiting trial for the November 2011 murder of his son, Ameen. The Syracuse, N.Y. man was indicted after a long mental health evaluation.
Though Washington had no diagnosed history of mental illness, those close to him said he had been acting strangely in the weeks leading up to the horrifying incident. He asked his mother and girlfriend if they had ever heard voices, and he began to act fanatical about his Muslim religion.
“He said, ‘Mom, have you heard anybody whispering,'" his mother, Marcena Davis, said in an interview. “He said he just felt paranoid and everybody was against him and out to get him. It was like he wasn't my son."
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Washington confessed to the murder to police, saying he thought his son was possessed by Shatan, the Muslim devil. He drowned Ameen in the shower, holding him under for ten minutes.
"I did this because I wanted to kill the Shatan that I believed was in my son," Washington explained. "I thought by killing a portion of Ameen, it would kill the Shatan in him."
Washington checked his son’s pulse after the “exorcism” was complete.
"I didn't think he was dead because the pulse of the Shatan is very hard to track," Washington said. "I then left Ameen at the house."
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Despite concerns about changes in Washington’s behavior, no one anticipated that he would kill the son he loved.
“It all just happened so fast," said his cousin Imani Collins at the time. "People who knew him are in total disbelief."
Washington may be found not guilty for reasons of insanity, in which case he will be bound for life in a mental-health facility instead of prison.
Sources: The Post-Standard