MMA Fighter To Face Murder, Torture Charges In Death of Friend

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A mixed-martial arts fighter has been charged with several crimes in the gruesome murder and mutilation of a friend, after a drug-induced hallucination led him to believe that the two were engaged in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Jarrod Wyatt, 26, is being charged with murder, aggravated mayhem and torture after killing his friend and sparring partner Taylor Powell. Police say that Wyatt stabbed Powell, then went on to cut off his face, cut out his tongue and heart, and cook the body parts in a wood stove in order to purge the evil that he believed embodied the 21-year-old Powell.

When the detective from Del Norte County Sheriff’s Department was dispatched to a house in the northern California town of Requa, he found broken glass, dried blood and a body, with most of the face missing and an 18-inch incision in its chest cavity, lying on the couch. Standing near the body was Wyatt, naked and covered in dried blood. According to Sergeant Elwood Lee, Wyatt said “I killed him.”

Wyatt allowed Lee to handcuff him without resisting, and then asked if “we were God, or if we were God coming to save him,” according to Lee’s testimony in Del Norte County Superior Court earlier this week.

Investigators were able to piece together a rough chronology of events by questioning Wyatt, his friend Justin Davis and his ex-girlfriend Billy Jo Bailey—both of whom were in the house at some point during the evening of March 21. The foursome had met at the Requa house and begun drinking tea made from psychedelic mushrooms. After a while, the men became convinced that a tidal wave was imminent, that the end of the world was coming and that there was an epic struggle occurring between God and the devil.

Wyatt and Powell had allegedly fought in the kitchen—Bailey testified that she had heard glass breaking and strange, nearly sexual sounds. At some point Wyatt became preoccupied with the idea that the devil was inside Powell, and eventually killed him, then cut off most of his face. He also cut out the man’s heart and tongue, and burned them in the wood stove.

“Satan was in that dude,” Wyatt told Lee during an interview at the county jail, adding that when he removed and burned Powell’s heart, he did so because he felt that Powell was still alive, and that he needed to “stop the devil.”

Wyatt faces a first-degree murder charge. In order to be convicted, the prosecution will have to prove that his actions were premeditated. At a recent hearing, prosecutors said that the time it took to kill Powell and mutilate his body prove that intent. Defense attorneys argue that Wyatt experienced a psychotic break as a result of the hallucinogens.

 

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