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Louisiana "dad" who decapitated disabled son found not guilty by insanity

Jeremiah Wright, left, accused of killing his 7-year-old son, Jori Lirette

Jeremiah Wright, left, accused of killing his 7-year-old son, Jori Lirette

Jeremiah Wright never once denied killing his son. In fact, he admitted and explained why he did it.

So why would a man take a meat cleaver and hack his own son's head off, leaving the head in his front yard to ensure that his wife would see it?

Easy answer, the 32-year-old Thibodeaux, Louisiana man said. His son was not a person. His son was, in fact, a "dummy," a "robot." He referred to the boy as an "it." "It" needed to be killed. That's what he said.

And it worked. He will not serve time in jail for this horrible, really unspeakable crime.

A judge decided last week that Wright was not guilty of the crime by reason of insanity.

Judge John LeBlanc said because this was a capital murder case (qualifying for death penalty because of the nature of the crime, the age of the victim, and the fact that the victim was disabled), he is committing Wright to a mental institution.

"The District Attorney's Office reluctantly agrees to let the judge make the ruling," said D.A. Cam Morvant of LaFourche Parish (South Louisiana parish outside of New Orleans where the murder was committed).

Wright's 7-year-old son, Jori Lirette, had cerebral palsy and was fed through a tube, confined to a wheel chair, and required around the clock care. He was killed Aug. 14, 2011. His severed head was found in the front yard of the house Wright shared with Jori's mother, Jesslyn Lirette. Additional body parts were found in trash bags nearby.

Wright told the forensic psychologist assigned to the case that he thought his son was a robot and he "wanted to see it's insides... to see what it's made of."

He said after he took the boy's body apart, he found "foam at the joints and a plastic skull."

Last fall, state doctors declared Wright competent to stand trial. Defense attorneys had questioned this finding. Last Friday, the psychiatrist who evaluated Wright on four occasions said he was suffering from a severe mental disorder with psychotic symptoms and hallucinations. He had been prescribed various antipsychotic meds but was completely off his medication at the time of the killing.

"He heard voices at the time," Dr. Farrah Deland said. "He thought people on TV were talking directly to him."

She said Wright believed that actor Matthew McConaughey would talk to him, telling him he was a good person. He also thought morning show hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa spoke to him. He also believed everyone was involved in a "grand experiment."

During six days of testimony in the pre-trial hearings, some witnesses testified that Wright believed his son was a robot or CPR dummy put into his home as a government experiment to teach him about life.

Wright said he saw signs that he was living with a dummy, including being defecated on and urinated on the morning he decapitated and dismembered the boy.

A year ago, attorneys for Wright argued that their client did not have the "present mental capacity to proceed" with trial. Judge LeBlanc agreed last week and committed him to treatment at a state facility in Jackson, Louisiana (North Central Louisiana).

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