Pankraj Bhasin stands accused of stabbing a man to death in Virginia last July, but defense attorneys have offered a strange defense — they say he thought the victim was a werewolf.
The murder took place in Alexandria back in July, when police were called to a window replacement business for reports of a suspicious death. As Fox 5 DC reported, they arrived to find a man locked inside a Mercedes Benz with no pants and covered in blood.
Police said that man was Pankraj Bhasin, who they claim had retreated to his car after stabbing a business owner, 65-year-old Brad Jackson, a total of 53 times. Bhasin was taken into custody and now faces a murder charge.
As Bhasin appeared in court this week, defense attorneys asked for the murder charges to be taken away and a new charge of voluntary manslaughter added instead. They said Bhasin was suffering from mental illness and believed that Jackson was a werewolf at the time he attacked me.
As Fox 5 DC reported, those who knew Jackson said the werewolf defense sounded fishy.
“That is just unbelievable to me. I can’t even fathom that. That sounds like a completely bogus defense. You know the brutality of this is just, you know, off the charts. I mean I can’t imagine that that could hold up. That doesn’t hold water to me,” said Bennett Moore, identified as a close friend of the victim.
The case has drawn comparisons to other strange murder defenses. In Toronto, a man was accused of stabbing a housemate a total of 281 times and trying to rip out the victim’s heart with her bare hands, all because he thought the man was the devil, the Toronto Star reported. The accused man, Shafaq Joya, said he heard a voice commanding him to kill neighbor Mohamad Milon to stop him from taking over the earth and ruling for 1,000 years.
Defense attorneys argued that Joya is not mentally fit to stand trial and that he should be placed in a mental health hospital rather than a prison. Those who know Joya said he suffered from schizophrenia for years and that he believed he saw the devil in other people, including his girlfriend.
They also said that Joya had shown no previous animosity to Milon before the attack and that there would be no other motive for him to kill his housemate.
Pankraj Bhasin’s murder trial is expected to continue next week when the defense makes its case.