A New Jersey man with mental issues was found not guilty of murder because he chopped off his boss’s penis and threw it in the garbage.
Gabriel Patenaude, a 32-year-old salesman, was facing up to 45 years in prison for killing his then-boss Tom Varga, a financial adviser at the firm Edelman Financial. He said the killing was a suicide, but he lied about it for over two months, according to The Wall Street Journal. The case drew national attention to the mental illness of those dealing with psychological issues.
Judge Michael Patrick Kearney of the Essex County Superior Court in New Jersey, entered the verdict Wednesday. Under New Jersey law, the charges Patenaude faced stemmed from his “intention to commit suicide in self-defense,” noted the Star-Ledger. The intent to commit suicide requires two conditions: that a defendant demonstrate willingness to die, or that death is likely.
Patenaude shot Varga twice with a .357 magnum handgun. He placed the weapon in Varga’s hand, tried to hold his feet, and pulled the trigger. The gun was found to have accidentally discharged. In court, Patenaude called Varga “a mean and vindictive man.”
It took court officials two days to find a jury after the first vote ended in a hung jury, NJ.com reported.