Teen enters insanity plea in 2 slayings

January 25, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Complying with a recommendation by a Carroll Circuit judge, Jason Aaron DeLong -- charged with killing his mother and her companion in her Westminster apartment last summer -- pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity yesterday.

The plea, suggested by Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. during a closed conference in his chambers, does not mean Mr. DeLong is going to abandon his contention that he was driven to kill his mother because of years of relentless sexual abuse, Mr. DeLong's attorneys said yesterday.

"We are here today at the invitation of the court, and I had in no way intended to file a 'not criminally responsible by reason of insanity' plea today," attorney Luther C. West said during a hearing in which Judge Beck indefinitely postponed Mr. DeLong's trial. "This was suggested by the bench to save us some time."

Mr. West said after the hearing that Judge Beck "felt more comfortable" granting a postponement -- which Mr. West had requested this month -- if Mr. DeLong were evaluated by psychiatrists before, rather than after, a new trial date was set.

Mr. DeLong will be sent to the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, where state psychiatrists will determine whether he is competent to stand trial, a process that can take up to two months.

If he is found competent, a trial date will be scheduled, and he would likely plead not guilty by reason of insanity. If he is deemed incompetent, he will be confined to a state mental hospital.

Mr. DeLong, 19, and his co-defendant, Sara E. Citroni, 17, have been charged in the fatal stabbings of Cathryn Brace Farrar, 39, and her friend George William Wahl, 35, on July 29.

Westminster police discovered the bodies Aug. 2 and arrested Mr. DeLong and Ms. Citroni several days later in South Florida.

Ms. Farrar, a nurse's aide, had been stabbed more than 80 times. Mr. Wahl, a brother-in-law of Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman, had more than 40 wounds.

Last week, Ms. Citroni entered an insanity plea. She, too, is being evaluated at the Perkins Hospital Center.

Mr. West and his partner, Catherine Flynn, have said Mr. DeLong killed his mother in self-defense. They said Mr. DeLong will say he was sexually abused by her all his life and on July 29 he "snapped."

The two defendants have been charged as adults with two counts each of first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, stabbing with intent to maim and conspiracy. Prosecutors are seeking life sentences without parole.

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