DeLong found guilty but insane

September 21, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A Carroll County jury found Jason Aaron DeLong guilty yesterday of planning the death of his mother, but it said insanity rendered him not criminally responsible when he fatally stabbed her and her boyfriend in Westminster last summer.

"There was no question that after the first stab, rage took over," said Barbara J. Mansfield, the jury foreman. "It was overkill, and I don't think any of us ever doubted that."

The panel of nine women and three men said DeLong, 19, was guilty of first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the deaths of Cathryn Brace Farrar, who was stabbed 86 times, and George William Wahl, but that he wasn't criminally responsible for his actions because he was insane.

The jury found him guilty of and responsible for one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

"It's a compromise verdict," said Baltimore Assistant State's Attorney Timothy J. Doory. He, with Baltimore Assistant State's Attorney Ara Crowe, prosecuted the four-week trial. Mr. Crowe, who said it was the first time he had faced an insanity defense in 19 years of trying murder cases, called the trial a fair one.

"This is a complicated case. The jury received every conceivable piece of evidence from both sides," he said. "And when that happens, everybody gets a fair trial."

DeLong, who admitted the killings, is to be sent to the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, where he will remain until doctors decide he is no longer a danger to himself or to others. When that happens, he will serve the prison term Judge Francis M. Arnold imposes for the conspiracy count. DeLong could get a life term when he is sentenced Nov. 23.

Luther C. West and Catherine Flynn of Baltimore, DeLong's defense lawyers, said they considered the verdict a victory. "We certainly did the boy a good turn," Mr. West said. "We certainly got more than we lost."

Defense attorneys and parole experts said DeLong, if he is sentenced to life in prison, could be eligible for parole 12 years after he is released from Perkins. Mr. West predicted that his client could return to society in as little as "10 to 15 years."

Co-defendant Sara Elizabeth Citroni, who met DeLong days before the slayings, pleaded guilty in July. Friday, she was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

The jury deliberated for nearly four days before returning the verdicts on DeLong shortly after 1 p.m. yesterday. Ms. Mansfield said the panel had decided early in the deliberations that DeLong stabbed his mother and her boyfriend.

The jurors were stuck on the issue of criminal responsibility for most of the deliberations, she said.

"He was not a raging, raging insane person all of the time," Ms. Mansfield said. The jury had been split slightly in favor of finding DeLong not criminally responsible since Friday afternoon, she said.

The jury's verdict in the Wahl slaying supported the contention that the 35-year-old maintenance worker was killed because he was in Ms. Farrar's apartment on the night of July 29, 1993.

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