A Bountiful man accused of killing his mother and stuffing her body inside a freezer was found not guilty by reason of insanity Monday.
Jeremy Jacob Hauck, now 24, was 18 in 2006 when prosecutors say he shot 51-year-old Laura Hauck and cut her throat as she slept. He allegedly dragged her body to the basement of their Bountiful home and stuffed it into a freezer.
He then stole his mother’s car and went to Missoula, Mont., where he was arrested two days later.
During Monday’s hearing before 2nd District Judge John Morris, Hauck was ordered to the Utah State Hospital for 15 years to life, where he will be treated for schizophrenia, paranoia and delusions.
Five experts hired by both Davis County prosecutors and the defense agreed Hauck was delusional at the time of the murder and believed his mother had been replaced by a "replicant" who he had to kill before she killed him.
"He was not killing his mother at the time, he was killing a replicant," defense attorney Todd Utzinger told the judge Monday.
Outside of court, Utzinger said there was evidence that before he killed his mother, Hauck had attempted to cut out what he thought was a microchip embedded in his arm. Hauck felt he was hearing instructions from what he called "the source," who told him to kill the woman, Utzinger said.
Deputy Davis County Attorney David Cole agreed with the experts’ findings.
"The state’s position is we can prove this crime beyond a reasonable doubt," he said. "It is our belief that he would be found not guilty by reason of insanity."
Monday’s hearing was considered a bench trial, though no evidence was presented, as Morris had already read the reports from mental health experts and agreed with the recommendation from prosecutors and the defense.
While Hauck had previously been ruled legally competent to stand trial on the charges, Utzinger said the man was a danger to himself and the community because he still suffers from schizophrenia and paranoia.
Utzinger said it is likely the 23-year-old will spend the rest of his life at the state hospital.
"It’s a tragedy all the way around," Utzinger said outside of court. "[But] it was the right resolution."
Hauck’s mental illness went mostly undetected before the murder, Utzinger said, likely because he is autistic and doesn’t display much emotion.
"There were no outward signs that someone would have picked up on," Utzinger said.
In court Monday, Hauck looked straight ahead and appeared emotionless as Morris ordered him to the state hospital. Utzinger said that while Hauck understands now that he killed his mother and not a replicant, he still doesn’t display his emotions.
"He doesn’t show emotion," Utzinger said. "He has no affect one way or the other."
Hauck has been in the state hospital since January 2008, when he was initially deemed incompetent. Before that, he had been housed in the Davis County jail after his August 2006 arrest.
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