Kansas woman on trial in beheading had to let ‘soul out’
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman on trial in the decapitation of her ex-boyfriend’s mother told jurors that she “had to hurry to let her soul out” and that she thought there were people watching her out of her own eyes through a cellphone app.
Rachael Hilyard, 38, of Wichita, referred repeatedly to “things” that she said would give her suggestions or orders when she took the stand Wednesday, The Wichita Eagle reported. She is charged with first-degree murder in the April 2017 killing of 63-year-old Micki Davis.
The jury was to hear closing arguments and start deliberating Thursday.
Prosecutors said the attack happened when Davis went to Hilyard’s home with her 9-year-old grandson to collect her son’s belongings at Hilyard’s insistence. The grandchild ran away before his grandmother was beheaded and called for help.
Hilyard, who was treated at a state psychiatric hospital before she was declared competent to stand trial, said she was discussing a painting with Davis when “I just freaked out, and we were wrestling into the garage, and we got into a fight.”
Asked whether Davis was breathing after she was fell to the ground, Hilyard said: “I thought there was people watching me from my own eyes. I thought there was an app on somebody’s phone so they could watch me out of my own eyes.”
She said she didn’t punch Davis, though autopsy photos show Davis had bruises on her head and cracked ribs.
When Davis’ grandson ran away, Hilyard said she followed him outside to Davis’ truck because she was “confused because he was so scared” but then returned to Davis, grabbing a steak knife from the kitchen along the way, because “I just heard something say ‘House.’”
“These things in my head were, like, telling me that I didn’t have much time. ‘You don’t have much time. Hurry up,’” she testified.
Hilyard said she thought Davis was dead because she wasn’t moving. But the county coroner and chief medical examiner found blood in Davis’ airways during an autopsy, a sign she was still alive when her throat was cut.
“And the things told me I had to hurry to let her soul out of there so she could go be free,” Hilyard testified.
She said when the steak knife’s blade broke off, she got another “to make sure that her (Davis’) soul got free. Police found Hilyard crouching in her bathroom, covered in blood and Davis’ head in the kitchen sink.
Defense attorney Quentin Pittman didn’t dispute that his client killed Davis and said he anticipated the jury would find her guilty of the “appropriate charge.” He didn’t say what that that charge might be during his opening statement.