(WHDH) — A man charged in the death of his adoptive mother used a knife to decapitate her before setting her corpse on fire because he believed she was the devil, authorities said.
Lionel Justin Gore, 34, of Ohio, was arrested Saturday on a charge of murder in the death of Diane Gore, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies responding to a report of a structure fire at a home on Cemetery Drive in New Matamoras spoke with Diane’s sister, Stephanie Williams, who said she arrived home to find Lionel running out of the residence, covered in blood, the Marietta Times reported. During a brief exchange with Williams, Lionel allegedly said, “Get out of the way or I’ll kill you next.”
Williams told investigators that she tried enter the home to find her sister but the fire was too intense, an affidavit obtained by the news outlet indicated. Lionel’s 6-year-old nephew also reportedly stated that he witnessed his uncle sawing Diane’s neck with a small knife before he went to get a larger one.
The juvenile was able to escape the home without injury.
Firefighters later located Diane’s body in what they believed was the master bedroom of the home.
Lionel allegedly crashed into two cruisers before he was arrested and taken to a local hospital. While under guard at the hospital, Lionel told a detective, “I cut her head off and set her on fire,” the affidavit said.
Lionel killed Diane because the “Holy Spirit told him to as she was the devil,” the Times reported, citing a sheriff’s report.
When the state fire marshal’s office later recovered Diane’s remains, her severed head was reportedly laying next to her torso.
Washington County Prosecutor Nicole Coil told the Times that Lionel will likely also face charges of arson and child endangerment.
An investigation remains ongoing.
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