Violette will not stand trial for decapitating daughter

January 2, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
A Johnston County father charged with murdering his daughter is not mentally competent to stand trial, according to a judge.

It was one year ago when 4-year-old Katlin Violette was found decapitated in her Clayton home. Her father, John Violette, is charged with murder.

Thursday a mental competency hearing was held to determine if Violette should be tried for murder. A judge found him not guilty by reason of insanity.

Violette will be committed to the State and will not be tried for his daughter's death.

The 38-year-old sat silent in a Johnston County courtroom with friends and family looking on. A Dorothea Dix psychiatrist testified Violette was insane when he stabbed his daughter to death and dismembered her body.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis, many around him had no idea how volatile Violette could be.

"If anybody knows John, I can't say I was like his family member but I knew John," neighbor Terry Ashley said. "I'd have to agree with his assessment. I'd have to say that what happened that day was totally uncharacteristic of John."

Violette spent time in a mental hospital ten years ago. According to doctors, he made significant progress and was not longer taking medication.

They now believe his past problems were a precursor to a more dangerous psychosis.

Thursday doctors testified Violette heard voices in his head -- voices that told him his daughter was an evil spirit.

Violette reportedly decapitated Katlin to keep the spirit from escaping.

"To discover that your neighbor is suffering from that, of course, it's a shocking revelation," Ashely said. "But something to be pitied but not punished."

On the stand, Violette's wife, Amber, sided with psychiatrists. She said John wouldn't knowingly hurt his daughter, leaving a judge to decide how to handle the bizarre murder.

"Anytime I ever saw him interacting with his daughter or with his wife it was always in a loving gentle manner," Ashley said.


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