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NC teen accused of beheading his mother found not guilty, sentenced to psychiatric care

The family of Yesenia Funez has filed a lawsuit against the doctor who discharged her son Oliver, pictured, from hospital care. He was charged with murder after she was decapitated in 2017.
The family of Yesenia Funez has filed a lawsuit against the doctor who discharged her son Oliver, pictured, from hospital care. He was charged with murder after she was decapitated in 2017.

The Franklin County teen charged with beheading his mother in 2017 has been judged not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to state psychiatric care.

At his hearing in Louisburg on Monday, Oliver Funes Machada stood and told Superior Court Judge Henry Hight Jr., “I just want to say I’m sorry,” according to a video feed from WRAL. “Let’s hope God forgives me.”

Machada, 18 at the time of the slaying, called 911 and told emergency dispatchers he had killed his mother “because I felt like it.” Sheriff Kent Winstead reported at the time that the teen walked out of the house holding his mother’s head and a large butcher knife.

Prosecutors dropped first-degree murder charges last year and transferred Machada to Central Regional Hospital in Butner to evaluate his fitness to go forward in the case. Hight noted that he had received extended psychiatric treatment twice before the crime.

At a hearing Monday, a doctor at Central Regional described him as extremely delusional, believing that he was acting on instructions from God. At times during Machada’s treatment, the physician said, he paced naked in his room and barked like a dog. The doctor said he would not want to see the defendant outside of a secure setting.

At the hearing, Hight concluded Machada suffered from a psychotic illness that led to the killing.

“He said ‘Jesus wanted it to happen,’“ Hight said. “‘He would have stopped me if he didn’t want it to happen.’“

Sofya Tsygankova was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the murders, which happened in March of 2016. She was sentenced to incarceration in a mental hospital for the rest of her life. The girls were one and five-years-old.

Josh Shaffer: 919-829-4818, @joshshaffer08
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