A Michigan man who says he killed his wife because a member of the QAnon conspiracy movement told him she was a CIA agent trafficking children and needed to die, won’t now stand trial for her murder.
Troy Burke, 45, admitted to killing his wife, Jessica, 29, by shooting her three times in the head in their home in Gratiot County on Jan. 27 last year. But on Tuesday, a judge allowed Burke to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, after psychiatric evaluations by both the state and independent experts concluded that he was not fit to stand trial.
According to local media reports, prosecutors told the court that Burke believed his tablet device was sending him signals from QAnon members who told him that his wife was working for the CIA. The defendant told police that the messages directed him to kill his wife to save the world from child sex trafficking, 12News reported.
It’s unclear if the messages Burke was speaking about were real or imaginary, but the QAnon conspiracy movement was built on the false claim that a so-called deep state is helping Democrats and Hollywood elites to operate an underground child sex-trafficking ring.
Burke, who had a history of mental health problems, also told investigators that he had a neural link implanted into his brain. “He said that other people could read his thoughts,” Gratiot County Prosecutor Keith Kushion told the court, the Morning Sun reported.
Burke also believed that his wife was in fact Joe Biden’s son who had undergone a sex change.
“He believed [these conspiracies],” Burke’s attorney, Sarah Huyser told the court, 12News reported. “They may sound illogical to us. They may, when we hear them, we are thinking that’s crazy for the lack of a better way to say that, but imagine being in the mindset where all of that is very real and very scary.”
Burke has been sent to the Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry, where he will spend 60 days and undergo more tests. After that, the court will determine if it will require him to spend the rest of his life in a state mental health facility.
Whether or not the messages Burke mentioned were real, he believed they were real and coming from someone within the QAnon movement, which has shown itself to be a significant catalyst for real-world violence.
This is at least the sixth murder case linked to QAnon. Most recently, in August of 2021, a father of two took his young children from their home in Santa Barbara and drove them to Mexico, where he killed them both by stabbing them repeatedly with a spear gun.
When Matthew Coleman was subsequently arrested by the FBI, he told investigators that he did it because he believed his children would grow up to be monsters, adding that he had been “enlightened” by QAnon conspiracies.
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