The Yuma man charged with murder in the strangulation death of his mother pleaded guilty to the crime, but insane, in a plea agreement Friday in Yuma County Superior Court.
“You're admitting guilt, but you are also admitting that you have a mental disease or defect that prevented you from knowing the criminal act was wrong,” said Superior Court Judge John Nelson during the 30-plus-minute hearing for 21-year-old Michael Anthony Allen.
Nelson told Allen that he intended to sentence him to 16 years in prison, but that he would be remanded into the custody of the Arizona Department of Health Service which operates the Arizona State Mental Hospital, where he will serve out his sentence.
While he is at the state hospital, Nelson told Allen, he will be evaluated and treated for his mental illness, and that if his condition ever improves, he would be sent back to the Arizona Department of Corrections to serve out any remainder of his sentence.
Allen is scheduled to be sentenced on March 22 at 8:30 a.m. Nelson also deferred accepting the plea agreement until sentencing.
Allen, who according to court records has a history of mental illness, is charged with killing his mother, 47-year-old Cynthia Allen, 47, whose body was discovered by Yuma police at a residence in the 400 block of South 2nd Avenue in December 2011. When he was interviewed by police about the murder, Allen told officers he thought his mother was Satan.
Court records indicate that Allen went to the home of someone he knew at about 4 a.m. Saturday and told them he may have killed his mother. That person called someone else and asked them to go to Allen's home and check on his mother.
Court records also indicated when that person arrived at Allen's home, he saw a broken window and called Yuma police. Once inside, officers found the body of Cynthia Allen lying in the floor of the living room. She had signs of trauma to her face and neck.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.