Gary Sherrill, 51, of Phoenix, Ariz., was arrested and charged with first degree murder New Year’s Eve, after telling police he killed his 13-year-old son with an axe in the belief the boy was possessed by a demon.

The body of David Sherrill, 13, was found in his father’s home by police who had been called by the boy’s mother, who told police he had not been returned from a visit with her ex-husband.

Phoenix law enforcement officers said they had to force their way into Sherrill’s home during an effort to check on the welfare of the teenager.

Sherrill then told police he attacked the teenager with an axe after the boy tried to assault his father. He is being held by local law enforcement authorities in lieu o a $1 million bond.

According to court documents, Sherrill’s ex-wife told a judge Sherrill had checked into a drug rehab facility six times over the course of eight years.

Sherrill is thought to have suffered depression because of unemployment, local observers told reporters. Neighbors stated that they often worried about the young boy’s safety as he was never allowed to play with other children when outside.


Ashley Wright

Special to the AFRO