A teenager accused of killing his mother last year in Simpsonville planned to become a serial killer, he told investigators during a videotaped interrogation played during testimony Tuesday at a hearing to determine if the boy will be tried as an adult.
An autism-spectrum disorder is part of the reason the child, now 14, should be tried as a juvenile, his lawyer argued.
The Family Court hearing resumes Wednesday morning following grim accounts of “at least 28” stab wounds to the torso, head, face and back of Isabel Zuluaga, a 44-year-old native of Colombia who was discovered lying naked on her back in a pool of blood at her Simpsonville home .
Investigators quickly centered on her son, whose name is being withheld because of his age, as the suspected killer.
In a mustard-yellow jumpsuit and shackled at the wrists and ankles, he shuffled into the courtroom without apparently acknowledging members of his family. They sat just behind the former Bryson Middle School student and wiped away tears as investigators described Zuluaga’s extensive wounds.
They declined to discuss the hearing or the circumstances that brought them there.
The accused teenager thought about killing his mother for months before acting on a plan the night of Aug. 31, 2015, he told investigators. He took $30 from his mother and planned to steal more money as he killed others, he told investigators who asked about his plans.
As the video shows, his account changed after about half an hour of denying knowledge of what happened to his mother.
“I killed her at 9 o’clock,” he told police without emotion. “I needed to be free.”
Long, dark hair with tight, frizzy curls covered part of his bespectacled face as psychologist Kimberly Hills testified that she didn’t believe he fully understood his rights during that interrogation. Defense attorney Heather Scalzo moved that her client’s videoed statement be thrown out.
Judge Alex Kinlaw Jr. ruled in favor of Assistant Solicitor Ashley Case’s argument for the statement to remain.