What possesses a man to kill his son in a cold-blooded manner? What possesses a man to believe that his son is taken over by a ‘demon’ and requires an exorcism? With no sign of drug use and with a family’s fear of escalating mental health issues, why is it that so many people who have taken a life have done so with the belief that they were defeating the Devil inside of their victim. This is the case of Marcell Washington, an Upstate New York man, who is accused of placing his 3-year-old son in a cold shower during an attempted exorcism, and eventually killing the boy in the process.
Family members and friends say that drug use is not a possibility and that up until the day that he killed his son, Washington had been a loving father who began to show possible signs of schizophrenia before the incident took place on November 5, 2011.
In the beginning of the investigation, the reason why the father took the life of his son was not revealed to the public until today….where a hometown newspaper quoted the father as confessing to killing his son and saying, “I wanted to kill the Shatan.”
In Islam, the Devil is referred to as Iblis or Shaytan, and that he possesses the power to “cast evil suggestions into the chests of men, women…” Washington did or was practicing Islam at the time of his son’s death, and even admitted to having seeking religious guidance on the day of his death.
On the day of his death, Washington says that he put his son into a cold shower, and then demanded to know if the youngster “worshiped only God.” When he replied, ‘no,’ Washington says that he forced the boy’s eyes open so that he could fill them with water. Washington told police that the thrashing or struggle of the child’s response to this action further solidified the notion that ‘Shatan’ remained inside the boy. He said, “I did this because I wanted to kill the Shatan that I believed was in my son. I thought by killing a portion of [my son], it would kill the Shatan in him.”
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Washington’s exorcism continued for about 10 minutes, where his son’s face was held under the water until his eventually body collapsed. Washington wrapped his limp body in a white towel, and transported him to the bedroom. He later checked his son’s pulse, and said he found none. He is quoted as saying that he didn’t think that he was dead because “the pulse of the Shatan is very hard to track.”
The details of this confession to authorities have been made into court documents that will be available for when Washington goes to trial for the murder of his son. A lengthy mental health evaluation followed the father’s arrest, who was only indicted this month on a felony murder charge. There is the possibility of Washington being found not guilty by reason of insanity for his crime, but even then, he will not be released, and will be confined to a mental health facility.
When police interviewed loved ones and friends, they told stories of how erratic Washington’s behavior had become in the coming weeks before the death of his son. His mother said that he had asked her if she heard anyone whispering, and others say that he had been ‘hearing voices,’ showing signs of paranoia, and ‘not acting himself.’ Police reports also state that Washington said that “the “demon” in [his son] was acting up.” For some, they view the voices and whispers as the Devil himself ‘speaking’ to Washington to commit such a crime.