Police: NJ killing spree suspect heard devil’s voice in head
A man accused of killing seven people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over a seven-week period told police he heard the devil's voice in his head, a detective testified Tuesday.
Todd West, 23, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and two co-defendants were ordered to stand trial on homicide and robbery counts in connection with the July 5 shooting deaths of a man in Easton and a man and a woman in nearby Allentown.
The victims were chosen at random, Lehigh County First Assistant District Attorney Steven M. Luksa said.
Arrested a day after the shootings, West described for police how he spotted Kory Ketrow, 22, walking down the street in Easton shortly after 3 a.m. July 5 and directed his co-defendant to pull their SUV over.
He said he climbed out, said "See ya later," and emptied his six-shot, .38-caliber revolver at Ketrow, testified Allentown police Detective John Brixius, who interviewed West.
West allegedly told police he didn't think he had killed Ketrow because he didn't see him "stiffen up."
He also said he heard a voice in his head, Brixius testified.
"The voice was telling him, `Eat, eat, stop being picky, eat,"' the detective said West told him.
A few minutes after shooting Ketrow, West opened fire on a motorist stopped at a red light -- striking the vehicle but missing the occupants -- then headed to Allentown, less than 20 miles away, firing out the SUV's window during the ride, Brixius said.
The motorist testified she looked in her rear-view mirror while stopped at the light, saw a man pointing a gun in her direction and stepped on the accelerator to get away.
West allegedly shot two more people minutes after getting to Allentown.
Police found Francine Ramos, 32, dead of gunshot wounds in the driver's seat of a car. Her passenger, Trevor Davante Hall Gray, 21, staggered away and was found leaning against a nearby parked car with gunshot wounds. He died a short time later.
All of the shootings took place within a span of about 40 minutes.
West told authorities that an Easton man, Robert Jordain, 21, bought the ammunition used in the Pennsylvania shootings, and a Newark man, Kareen Mitchell, 23, drove him to both crime scenes in a Mercedes-Benz SUV owned by Mitchell's mother. Jordain and Mitchell were charged with homicide and appeared in court with West on Tuesday.
All three suspects are pleading not guilty, their lawyers said.
Arguing for the charges to be tossed, Mitchell's attorney, Karen Schular, said the shootings were "all spontaneous and random" by West and that her client, who had no criminal record, had nothing to do with them.
"He's in the car with a guy who's hearing the devil's voice," she said. "There's no motive for any of these shootings. It's a scary, scary situation."
But Luksa, the prosecutor, said Mitchell was culpable as the driver of the "Mercedes SUV of death."
West's lawyer, Robert Sletvold, said after the hearing that he would look into a mental health evaluation for West.
"Based on what I heard today, it's something that has to be seriously considered," he said.
Police have said West also killed his cousin in an Elizabeth apartment building in May 18, and killed three other victims on June 25 in Elizabeth.
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