Local News

Officials to evaluate 'mental state' of 18-year-old accused of decapitating mom

Posted March 7
Updated March 8

— The mental state of an 18-year-old man who allegedly decapitated his mother at a Zebulon home on Monday will be evaluated by authorities as he awaits a formal indictment by a grand jury.

Oliver Mauricio Funes Machada was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Yesenia Funez Beatriz Machado. Franklin County authorities said Funes Machada walked out of the home at 90 Morgan Dr. with a large butcher knife in one hand and his mother's head in the other.

"(Officers) ordered the suspect to drop the knife, which he did, and he was arrested without incident," said Chief Terry Wright with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

Mike Waters, the Franklin County district attorney, said Funes Machada's "mental state will be a primary interest" over the next few weeks. Waters said it could take weeks or months to determine exactly what the situation is.

Waters reviewed the recording of the 911 call and said he will not release it.

Funes Machada, who finished 10th grade at Rolesville High School, was given "safekeeper" status due to his mental state, according to Franklin County court officials. The designation is part of guidelines issued by the North Carolina Department of Corrections to assist with prisoner housing when safety and security are a concern.

He was transferred from the Franklin County Jail to Central Prison in Raleigh Tuesday morning.

Neighbors who live nearby said they are reeling from what they witnessed.

"When I came out, there was something laying in the front yard, which I found out later was the mother's head," said Leona Smith.

"It's very hurtful to know something like this can happen in your own neighborhood with such a quiet family with the standard white picket fence, trampoline, playground in the back. To know this happened and then yesterday to see the two younger children sitting in the ditch crying, it was heartbreaking."

Wright said he is working to help the community and his deputies deal with this tragedy.

"It's tough. It's tough for the deputies, it's tough for the community, and we will be offering them assistance because it was a horrific scene," he said.

Funes Machada had worked at a nearby convenience store. His former boss, Brenda Hart, said she was shocked when she heard the news.

"He seemed like a nice kid, quiet. He was just slow at work. He didn't really do a whole lot," she said.

Funes Machada is originally from Honduras and is not a U.S. citizen. ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations has issued a detainer on the teen.

According to court documents, he was taking a medication for some kind of mental health condition.

Funes Machada was appointed an attorney, and his next court date is March 14. The next grand jury will meet in April.


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  • Tim Orr Mar 8, 3:01 p.m.
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    The Good Book also says...an eye for an eye. The new testament says turn the other cheek. I only got two cheeks...

  • Arron Lee Mar 8, 9:02 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    You have to take what you call the , "so called good book" as a whole. Us "good Christians" understand both sides. One, we are to be accepting of people as the Bible teaches us to love one another. Second, we are not to tolerate evil and should try to separate ourselves from it. We also respect the law of the land and cannot condone any action that is illegal. Being here undocumented is an illegal act. Pretty simple.

  • Rick Edwards Mar 8, 5:50 a.m.
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    If it had been your mothers head that had been chopped off by an illegal alien, would you be so welcoming to that illegal?

  • Ed Ray Mar 8, 5:34 a.m.
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    WRAL why have not told everyone how he is in this country illegally and this is what happens when you let people like this in the country.

  • William Price Mar 8, 5:20 a.m.
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    i just wonder how many of these people that talk so much trash about illegal immigrants are "good christian church goers" .... because if any of you are good Christians like you call yourself you wouldnt talk trash about illegal immigration because in that so called good book it explains how immigrants should not be pushed away.....but lets face it...there is no such thing as a "good christian" but yeah lets focus on the fact that someone is illegal not the fact they chopped someones head off.....smh

  • Joe Schmoes Mar 7, 10:54 p.m.
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    Being that there is an ICE retainer on this slug, I'd have hoped the reporter would have asked his employer, Brenda Hart at the convenience store, exactly what social security number he provided to be paid for "being slow and doing very little"?

  • Luis Avila Mar 7, 8:06 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    i mean really

  • Clarence Drumgoole Mar 7, 6:26 p.m.
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    He finished 10th grade at Rolesville High School, "Wow"! What school did Dylan Roof attend?

  • Albert Holmes Mar 7, 6:09 p.m.
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    Got to ask a question ? This scum bag that decapitated his mother's head ! They say he is here illegally from Honduras ! But he was in high school here and was on medicine so they say for mental problems. So that means he had to show a birth certificate for school and for medical assistance. So which organization failed to report his being here illegally ?

  • Norman Lewis Mar 7, 5:54 p.m.
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    Save a Psychiatrist a lot of trouble, this young man is seriously messed up. No sane person does such a thing. He may or may not be found criminally liable, but he should never walk the streets again as a free man.