Archive for Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Prosecutor: Cannibalistic tendencies led to slayings

July 20, 2004


— A trash bag containing a dismembered body was found at a home where a man accused of killing three men lived with his mother, a prosecutor said during the first day of the man's triple-murder trial.

And Marc V. Sappington, 25, confessed to killing Alton "Fred" Brown Jr., 16, Wyandotte County Assistant Dist. Atty. Jerry Gorman said during his opening statement Monday.

Sappington is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Brown; Michael Weaver Jr., 22; and Terry T. Green, 25. They were killed over three days in April 2001.

Sappington's attorney, Patricia Aylward Kalb, deferred her opening statement.

Much of Monday was devoted to picking a jury. Testimony was scheduled to begin today.

Prosecutors have alleged that "deviant cannibalistic tendencies" led to the murders. Sappington reportedly told police that he smoked a hallucinogenic drug before the murders and that voices told him to engage in cannibalism.

Sappington also is charged with kidnapping and aggravated burglary in the April 10, 2001, abduction of a woman in Kansas City, Kan. Authorities allege that crime occurred around the time of the slayings.

Brown's mother, Tammy Saunders, ran from the courtroom crying during Gorman's opening statement.

"I couldn't listen to what he had done to my baby," Saunders said. "I know you are not to have outbursts in court and I thought what I was hearing was going to explode my head."

She said she was looking forward to no longer having to see Sappington again.

Sappington also is charged with murder in the unrelated slaying of David Mashak, 25, of Kansas City, Kan., who died March 16, 2001, during an attempted robbery at an automobile detailing shop.

The case is being heard in front of Wyandotte County District Judge J. Dexter Burdette, who ruled last August that Sappington could be forced to take anti-psychotic medication. It was one of the first cases in the country to fall under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling limiting when a state can forcibly medicate a defendant.

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