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Man Who Says God Told Him to Kill Girlfriend Gets New Trial

(RNS) A New Jersey man who claimed God made him kill his pregnant girlfriend will get a new trial because jurors deciding his case should have been allowed to hear special instructions about an insanity defense, an appellate panel has ruled.
The three-judge panel tossed out the conviction and 50-year sentence of Boyce Singleton Jr. on Monday (Feb. 28) because it said the trial judge should have allowed the jury to consider an insanity defense.
During Singleton’s trial in 2008, Superior Court Judge Patricia LeBon gave the general instructions that jurors could reach a guilty verdict on a murder charge if they found the defendant knew the killing was wrong.
But, the appellate panel said, LeBon should have told jurors they could acquit Singleton by reason of insanity — even if they found Singleton knew killing Michelle Cazan was wrong — if they believed he felt God compelled him to act.
“It was for the jury to find the facts and determine whether the defendant believed God commanded him to kill Michelle,” Judge Clarkson Fisher Jr. wrote for the appeals court. “And it was for the judge to provide instructions depending upon how the jury might find the facts.”
Singleton, now 32, admitted he fatally shot and stabbed Cazan in their home in Mansfield Township on Sept. 13, 2005. Testifying during his 10-day trial, Singleton told jurors, “It was the right thing to do because it was something God was telling me to do.”
– MaryAnn Spoto, Religion News Service
(MaryAnn Spoto writes for The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J.)

  • Your Name

    Hmmm, listening to the “voice o’ God” = insanity. Well, at least that’s the ‘defense’.
    America gets more and more insane every day.

  • Eddie deRoulet

    so, according to this court, any terrorist who uses the “I was told by God excuse” can get away with murder?

  • nnmns

    And how do religious people feel about the idea that listening to the” voice of God” in their heads is insanity?
    But yes, it is troubling that that could be an effective defense.

  • Virginia

    Blaming your actions on something our Lord would never do. Quit wasting tax payers time and money. Just tell him to man up and take responsiblity for his actions. That wasnt God speaking it was his drug induced brain

  • Henrietta22

    So many humans have always blamed God for their sins, this is one more. The law has to decide is he lying about listening to God or really heard a voice in his head commanding him to kill his girlfriend. If it was a voice there’s tests to take and see if he is a schizoid, and mentally unbalanced.

  • jestrfyl

    If this precedent stands, the “God Did It” response will allow insurance companies to escape almost all claims.

  • cknuck

    Just another example of how we waste money-tax payers money.

  • pagansister

    Interesting he said God told him to kill her, not Satan. Maybe Satan told him not too?
    Keep the guy in jail—he killed her and his excuse is lousy. There is no excuse—

  • crrodriguez

    Pretty much like Moses attempted to do with his son, this time the all loving psycho of the sky didn’t stop this guy.
    That happends when you mimic biblical characters..

  • cknuck

    crrodriguez you might want to reread a bible to get your characters right at least.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jessica

    If you play the fence and are not getting the proper guidance and understanding of the word, you will leave an open door for satan to come in and manipulate you. So what you may think is God speaking will be satan instead. You’ll know because it won’t line up with the Bible…But no one should ever judge another, it states that we are ALL not perfect. We weren’t there to know what happened. God is no respector of person’s when it comes to sin. He will forgive you if you are sincere.

  • uzza

    Exactly. When you hear God telling you to kill someone you’re insane, whether your name is Boyce or Abraham.

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