A Florida man has been convicted of killing his wife and five children.
Mesac Damas, 41, pleaded guilty on Sept. 5 to six counts of premeditated first-degree murder, reports the Daily Mail.
He has been in custody since 2009 after confessing to the murders.
All six victims were found at their Collier County home in September of that year. They had stab wounds and their throats had been slashed.
Collier Sheriff Kevin Rambosk called the murder "the most horrific and violent event" in county history.
After stabbing his family to death, Damas fled to his home country of Haiti, but was arrested there and extradited the United States.
He initially blamed the six murders on his mother-in-law. She "pretty much made me do it -- the devil, her spirit, whatever she worships," he said.
But ultimately, Damas confessed to police and reporters, and said he wanted to be put to death.
His trial had been delayed by mental competency issues, with his attorneys arguing that he suffered from a brain injury and has had a long history of mental illness.
Recent challenges to Florida's death penalty law also caused delays.
Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt put Damas's trial on hold in until the Supreme Court ruled whether the state's death penalty laws and procedures were constitutional.
At the Sept. 5 hearing, Collier Circuit Judge Christine Greider accepted Damas’ plea, reports the Naples Daily News. “Sir, you are adjudicated guilty,” Greider told Damas.
At the end of the hearing, Damas issued an apology:
I just want to say I’m truly sorry, especially to the family of my wife. I don’t see them here today, but I just want to make sure for the record they know that. ... I know how much they love their sister, their daughter, their grandchildren. And then I want to make sure that everyone knows that I love them the most.
I love my people, my wife and children. But this thing happened. ... I don’t have an answer for it. I wish I had an answer for it, but I don’t. When I stand before the great God, I will ask him a lot of questions. From now on, I’m just going to put my trust in him, and say sorry to the whole world.
His sentence will be decided at a hearing on Sept. 29.