The defendant, Lawrence Harris, claims to have been performing some sort of ritual that no actual worker of magick has ever heard of.
The girls' bodies were found in a second-floor bedroom of the house. Police say they had been stabbed and strangled.
Harris told police that he had been performing "some strange ritual" that had gone bad and that the spell could have severe consequences, court records show.
Presumably those severe consequences include being put in jail for murdering your kids. You know, because those are the consequences spelled out by our legal system.
Harris' attorney, assistant public defender Michael Williams, said during a court hearing on Wednesday that prosecutors are seeking to link what Harris says and does to satanism. Casting spells and practicing witchcraft is not proof of satanism, Williams said.
Nor should they be, though a ritual gone this bad is clear proof of reckless incompetence. Either that, or perhaps Harris' story sounds so unbelievable to me as a magical practitioner because it's completely made up.
Williams said he plans to use a defense of insanity and diminished responsibility. Woodbury County Attorney Mark Campbell said the evidence is needed to show Harris was performing a spell or ritual from a satanic bible when the girls died.
As I mentioned above, The Satanic Bible contains no such ritual. However, I suppose the defendant could have bought a copy of A satanic bible from just about anyone, including a guy in a trenchcoat standing on a street corner. Something like this:
"Can you sell me a copy of The Satanic Bible?"
"Sure, here you go. Ten bucks."
"But this isn't by Anton LaVey!"
"Oh, um, it's a different Satanic Bible. You can just call it Bob's Satanic Bible."
I'm not a fan of any sort of diminished capacity defense in criminal cases. It's pretty clear to me that if Harris killed the girls, and it sounds like he did, he should be sent to prison regardless of the context. He's either lying about his motive or so incredibly delusional and stupid that he's a danger to everyone around him. Society needs to be protected from him either way.