A mixed martial arts fighter has been charged with murder after allegedly ripping out the heart and cutting off the tongue and face of his sparring partner -- all reportedly while the victim was alive.
A California judge upheld the murder charges Friday, as well as charges of aggravated mayhem and torture, against Jarrod Wyatt in the death of Taylor Powell.
Wyatt and his attorney are saying he was tripping on drugs when he committed the act. The details are gruesome and the reasons behind the March 21 death are bizarre.
Beware, this story is graphic.
Police say that Wyatt, 26, was under the influence of psychedelic drugs when he and Powell became convinced that the end of the world was coming.
The two allegedly thought that God and the devil had possessed Wyatt and Powell for a final battle between good and evil, according to the Times-Standard of Eureka, Calif.
Police were called to the house by a third friend who reported a stabbing.
Sgt. Elwood Lee said he entered the house to find a man, later identified as Wyatt, naked and covered from head to toe in dried blood. He was standing over a body.
Lee cuffed Wyatt (pictured in his one MMA fight) and then examined the body on the couch.
Most of the face had been removed and Lee noticed an 18-inch hole in the body's chest and the heart missing.
”At one point,” Lee said in testimony Friday, “(Wyatt) asked if we were God, or if we were God coming to save him.”
Officers also took Wyatt's ex-girlfriend, Billy Jo Bailey, into custody. She was found in a bedroom.
The witness, Davis, said he had been at the house earlier, left and returned to get his dog. That's when he saw one man straddling another threatening to cut off his tattoos.
While in custody, Wyatt said that he, Davis and Powell had drank mushroom tea earlier in the night.
Wyatt said that when Davis went to leave the first time, he tried to stop him because he was concerned a tidal wave was coming.
Wyatt then admitted that he'd cut out Powell's heart, cut off his tongue and removed his eyes.
He then cooked the body parts in a wood stove because he was tormented by spirits.
He told police that he burned Powell's heart because he feared Powell was still alive and he was trying to stop the devil.
The coroner's report showed that Wyatt removed the heart while Powell was still alive.
Wyatt said that Powell had told him that the end of days were coming. Wyatt said the Powell then put him in a chokehold.
"Satan was in that dude," Wyatt said, according to police.
Powell continued to hold Wyatt and got him to the ground. Wyatt told authorities that he was able to get Powell off of him and then began to dissect him.
The ex-girlfriend later testified that she saw Powell on top of Wyatt, spitting on him.
Lee said that he did not believe Wyatt was under the influence of a hallucinogen.
He said the ex-girlfriend appeared to be under the influence when she told police that Wyatt was mad at her and taking it out on Powell.
Bailey, the ex, said that Powell's mood changed drastically from the time they first met earlier in the evening at a nearby bar to after they drank the mushroom tea.
"He said, 'You want to f'ing die' three times," Bailey said.
The defense will come down to premeditation. Did Wyatt plan this attack or was it the result of a drug trip?
Wyatt's attorney said Friday that the acts were all a result of the mushroom tea.
He said that Wyatt began to hit Powell when he noticed Powell putting pressure on Bailey's legs while on the couch.
”My client was trying to silence the devil,” attorney James Fallman said, according to the Times-Standard.
The judge said Friday that there was no evidence to support a psychedelic break.
The prosecution said the act of mutilating Powell's body showed intent and the removal of body parts showed extreme, callous indifference, according to the Times-Standard.
Wyatt's trial date has not been set.