Local News

Murder charge dropped in Zebulon decapitation case

Posted 2:02 p.m. Wednesday
Updated 8:25 p.m. Wednesday

— Authorities have dismissed a murder charge against a Franklin County teen accused of beheading his mother in March, saying he isn't mentally competent to stand trial.

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

In a statement released Wednesday, District Attorney Michael D. Waters said after reviewing a report prepared by mental health professionals, it was determined that Machada does not have the mental capacity to proceed with the case.

"Specifically, could he appreciate the charges against him and participate in his defense and the mental health professionals there determined he could not at this time," Waters said.

Machada will be committed to Central Regional Hospital for mental health treatment.

"Should the defendent's capacity to proceed be restored, he would be returned to the custody of Franklin County Sheriff Ken Winstead, and the District Attorney's Office will reinstate the charges against Machada," the statement read.

The State of North Carolina vs. Oliver M. Funes Machada was among several murder cases heard in an administrative session of Franklin County Criminal Superior Court Wednesday.

Authorities were called to a home at 90 Morgan Drive in Zebulon on March 6 after Oliver 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 Franklin County deputies arrived at the home.

AUDIO: 911 call released in Franklin County murder

The mental capacity of the 18-year-old, who is in the U.S. illegally, has been an issue since shortly after his arrest.

He was moved from Central Prison to a psychiatric facility in Butner for a mental exam. Defense attorney Boyd Sturges also wanted 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.

"We don't know what is going to happen with him and his mental state, and so we will continue waiting, and either he will be found capable to proceed at some future time or he won't be," Waters said. "That is not the same issue as to whether he was insane at the time that he committed these offenses."

In March the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed an ICE detainer following his arrest.

According to an ICE spokesperson, if Machada is being treated at a mental health facility, the detainer would no longer apply. He would only be detained by ICE if he were being released all together.

"At this point, he is not going to be deported until this matter is resolved," Waters said.


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  • Fred Bronson Oct 13, 8:09 a.m.
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    is he here legally and if not why isn't he in prison for 50 years or put to death to save us money

  • Mickey Forbes Oct 12, 7:29 p.m.
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    He is here illegally. ICE can't deport him as long as he's in custody. I just don't understand why he will not be tried for at least 2nd degree murder unless prosecutor believes that he will be in a mental facility for years. That means he'll be under state custody so he can't be deported until he's released.

  • Mickey Forbes Oct 12, 7:22 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

  • Rod Runner Oct 12, 12:13 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Do you mean this white supremacist and Neo-Nazi movement that is pushing forward big time? I think they were born here, and didn't invade.

    They've even got 2 marines in NC foisting a YWNRU banner. Sad.

  • Jeffrey Derry Oct 12, 11:19 a.m.
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  • NC Tom Oct 12, 9:07 a.m.
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    All the whining. Its clear, Deport him.

  • Gary Thompson Oct 12, 7:41 a.m.
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    kelly no one is saying tjat. We are saying we are tirwd of our tax dollars going to help illegals for what ever reason. My vote is to deport him and be done

  • Ivonne IA Oct 12, 7:02 a.m.
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    This story was horrible! From a scary movie if in fact the boy has mental issues killing his mother will hunt him for the rest if his life. Why not put aside what nationality he is and come together and pray for the family. He killed his mom while there were 2 other kids in the home! We are all human created by one creater! Let's stop the bullying we are adults and love each other, hurt for each other. I can't even imagine the pain and suffering he's family is going through. He did something extremely bad he will pay for it if in fact he's not paying for it now! Let's pray for the family and him as well!

  • William Hayes Oct 11, 11:29 p.m.
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    I’m all about punishing criminals...but this was his own mother. We’re still in the dark ages when it comes to mental illness. My question, what is his purpose? Put him to death unless we can learn from him

  • Reggie Berryman Oct 11, 8:10 p.m.
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    Why is it never about the victim!