Thursday, October 14, 2004

Man ruled insane in murder of activist

By Sharon Coolidge
Enquirer staff writer

A 20-year-old College Hill man accused of killing longtime community activist Edgar Pillow was insane when he stabbed and beat his grandfather to death, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge John West found Michael Meridy not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

West's decision was in part based on a court psychiatrist's determination that Meridy suffers from schizophrenia and was not in his right mind during the November 2003 killing, said Meridy's attorney, Stephen Wenke.

Meridy said God and the devil made him kill Pillow, Cincinnati Police Detective Jenny Luke testified at Wednesday's trial.

West will decide on Nov. 1 if Meridy is mentally ill and thus subject to treatment at a psychiatric hospital.

Ohio law allows a defendant to be treated at a hospital for the length of the sentence he would have faced if found guilty of the crime. In Meridy's case, that would be 15 years to life.

But such cases are reviewed every two years to determine if a defendant is sane. If such a determination is made, the defendant is released.

Police found Pillow, 78, dead at his Cedar Avenue home on Nov. 23. He had been beaten in the head with a baseball bat, stabbed 25 times and bled to death, according to Hamilton County coroner records.

Meridy was at the home and admitted to killing his grandfather, Luck testified.

Meridy told detectives he killed his grandfather because his grandfather wanted to die so he could see his deceased wife in heaven, Luke said.


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