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Man kills son with axe: Says son was demon-possessed and trying to eat him

A man told Phoenix, Ariz., police he killed his son with an axe when he thought the 13-year-old was possessed by a demon and was trying to eat him.
A man told Phoenix, Ariz., police he killed his son with an axe when he thought the 13-year-old was possessed by a demon and was trying to eat him.
Luigi Zanasi, Creative Commons

A Phoenix, Ariz., man was arrested earlier this week after he allegedly attacked and killed his 13-year-old son with an axe. Police responding to the scene found the teen dead from multiple cuts and his father claiming that not only was his son possessed by a demon but that he had also been attempting to eat him.

Phoenix police, Fox News reported Jan. 2, say that Gary Reagan Sherrill confessed to killing his son, David Sebastian Sherill, on New Year's Eve and was arrested on a first-degree murder charge. He appeared in court New Year's Day. The judge set bail at $1 million.

Police say Sherrill told them that the boy was possessed by a demon. He also said his son was trying to eat him. He said he had then killed his son with an axe.

Police went to the house after the teen's mother had called and said Sherrill had not returned their son to her house, nor could she reach anyone at her ex-husband's place.

The two had joint legal custody of the boy. Prior to 2010, according to KSAZ in Phoenix, Gary Sherrill had majority custody of their son, David. Documents indicate that she had filed for divorce after a rocky marriage. She filed for a protective order against Sherrill in 2005, by then her ex-husband, wherein she claimed she feared for her safety and the safety of her two young children.

In a 2010 petition, the ex-wife noted that Sherrill may have be using morphine. She said in the complaint that he wasn't sending young David to school and was not allowing her to see her son. She was subsequently awarded joint legal custody.

There is almost no mention of the father's mental state in the paperwork, according to KSAZ, except for a line in the divorce document: "The father is unemployed and this has likely impacted his mental state..."

But neighbors seem to have a different view of Gary Sherrill.

One neighbor, one who wished to remain unidentified, said, "I know that all the windows were blacked out with tin foil. I never saw the child playing whenever he was let out of the house.. he had a tight hold on him. In the beginning, I kind of thought he might be kidnapped."

The same neighbor said that they had once called Child Protective Services on Sherrill. However, CPS says they never received a single complaint about the family.

Another neighbor, Davina West, told KNXV-TV in Phoenix that she had seen him "screaming at a tree the other day."

A number of neighbors said that they had seen police pull up to the Phoenix home several times prior to the man allegedly killing his son with an axe.

Some said the father, as he was being led away by police, was screaming hysterically, yelling about war.

"I feel horribly for the mother who I witnessed when they told her the news and heard her gut wrenching scream.. that is just something that will stay with me forever," another neighbor told KSAZ.