An Alabama man, who allegedly killed his mother with a Samurai sword following what was said to be an argument over marijuana, was found not guilty of her murder by reason of insanity, court documents stated.
According to WALA, 25-year-old Damien Washam allegedly killed his mother Helen Nettles Washam, 61, nearly two years ago. The murder is said to have happened in the victim’s home, and Washam was arrested and charged in connection with her killing.
An autopsy stated that the deceased victim sustained 19 cuts to the neck, her back, and both of her arms. A detective who took the stand also testified the victim’s left thumb was cut off.
Damien’s brother and his uncle also suffered injuries from the attack, investigators said, adding that the suspect was in possession of the murder weapon when he was pulled over after the fatal incident.
Authorities in the wake of the incident said Damien’s family said they were unaware Damien was struggling with any mental illness. Prosecutors in November 2022 called for Damien to undergo a mental health evaluation.
Court documents later stated that it was established the suspect was legally insane of murder, attempted murder, and assault, WALA reported. Court documents stated that Damien will continue receiving treatment at the Alabama Department of Mental Health until authorities receive a filing of a petition for his release.
In a January 2022 interview with Oxygen.com, the deceased victim’s widower and Damien’s father, Hubert Washam, said his son had gained interest in online conspiracy theories prior to the fatal incident. He also said his son had no known mental health problems or a previous criminal record.
“It’s something he got into,” Hubert said. “I don’t understand it. Crazy stuff — Egyptian gods of the underworld. He ordered that sword, another knife, other stuff that looked like he was planning to kill us all and burn the house down. I just wish I could ask him now what the heck was all this stuff for.”
“He had started listening to some crazy group of people, like a cult or something,” he added. “Evidently, he had sent links to his sisters and were telling them about it, talking about the sun, and getting energy from the sun. It was just something he got into four weeks, six weeks ago. I don’t understand it.”