Local News

Franklin DA not seeking death penalty in decapitation case

Posted May 23

— Franklin County District Attorney Michael Waters said Tuesday that he will not seek the death penalty against a teenager accused of killing and beheading his mother.

Oliver Mauricio Funes Machada is charged with first-degree murder in the March 6 death of his mother, 35-year-old Yesenia Funes Machada.

The 18-year-old is being held at Central Prison and could be moved to a psychiatric facility in Butner as soon as next week for a mental exam. Defense attorney Boyd Sturges said Tuesday that he plans to bring in his own psychiatrist for a second evaluation, saying he believes Funes Machada belongs in a psychiatric hospital long term, not a prison.

"Clearly, this is not your run-of-the-mill occurrence," Sturges said. "I think that indicates that mental health is going to be a key component (of the trial) and therefore is not the kind of thing that needs to be a capital case."

Yesenia Machada, Franklin decapitation case

Authorities were called to a home at 90 Morgan Drive in Zebulon on March 6 after Funes Machada called 911.

He told a dispatcher that he had stabbed his mother because he was mad at her. Authorities said that he also cut off her head with what appeared to be a large butcher knife and had walked out of the home holding her head in one hand and the knife in the other as deputies arrived at the home.

Officials said the teen is in the the United States illegally, but if he is convicted and given a life sentence, he would serve his prison sentence in this country.


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  • Jewel Lee May 23, 3:13 p.m.
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    They should have shot him dead on the spot when he walked out holding the head. Now we get to provide him with food, shelter & medical care. What a waste of resources! What a waste of air!

  • Jim Dunn May 23, 11:23 a.m.
    user avatar

    Fry him. He can never be allowed in normal society. I don't care if he is mental. If you cut you mothers head off, nobody is going to trust that person or want to live anywhere near it.