FARMINGTON -- A man who killed his mother and stuffed her body in a freezer has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Jeremy Hauck, 23, appeared before a judge in 2nd District Court where his attorney announced that he had been restored to competency after nearly 6 1/2 years of legal proceedings. In less than five minutes, a trial was held and Judge John Morris found him not guilty by reason of insanity.
The judge had reviewed medical reports and both prosecutors and the defense agreed on Hauck's mental state both at the time of the crime and presently.
"Unfortunately, there was never going to be a good resolution to this case," Hauck's defense attorney, Todd Utzinger, told FOX 13 outside of court. "It's a tragedy all the way around. But I think it's the right resolution."
Hauck killed his mother, Laura, as she slept back in 2006. Police said he had shot her and slit her throat, then stuffed her body in a basement freezer. The 18-year-old then fled to Montana in her car where he was arrested.
The case has been mired in mental competency proceedings. Utzinger said his client is autistic, and was diagnosed with paranoid delusions and schizophrenia. The autism is why symptoms of mental illness went largely undetected, he said.
"At the time he killed his mother, he was hearing instructions from what he called 'The Source,' which he described as a 'data stream,'" Utzinger told FOX 13. "There's evidence that he tried to remove a chip from his arm -- he thought a chip had been implanted that was giving him directions."
"The Source" told Hauck to kill his mother, Utzinger said.
"It, at some point, directed him that his mother was a 'replicant,' that she had been replaced and he needed to kill her before she captured him," Utzinger said.
The judge's ruling means that Hauck was insane at the time of the murder. He then ordered Hauck to be committed to the state mental hospital for the same amount of time he would have received if he were convicted in a jury trial -- 15 years to life.
"We thought it was the right resolution," said deputy Davis County Attorney David Cole. "The practical effect is that Jeremy spends effectively the rest of his life in the hospital."
Outside of court, Laura Hauck's family hugged each other.
"We're just glad that he'll be somewhere where he can't hurt anybody else," said Annie Call, Laura Hauck's niece.