An 18-year-old inmate accused of beating and stabbing to death his county jail cellmate is being held in isolation after a Las Vegas police classification system initially deemed him safe to house with others.
Deputy Public Defender Norm Reed questions why his mentally ill client, Carl Marcus Guilford, had a cellmate at the Clark County Detention Center. Guilford now faces two separate murder charges.
Reed said his client suffers from a severe psychosis, and once off his medication, Guilford has "an eight-track of delusions running in a loop in his head."
Several days before Guilford is alleged to have killed Francesco Sanfilippo, he began refusing to take recommended medication to treat his mental illness, Reed said.
Las Vegas police told the Review-Journal on Friday that an objective formula that takes into account an inmate's crime, age, criminal history, medical needs, sexual orientation and other factors determined Guilford and Sanfilippo should be segregated from the general population but could share a cell.
Reed said Guilford, in his moments of lucidity, was soft-spoken and unassuming. "He's the exact opposite of someone you would think would kill anyone," Reed said.
But in his delusional state, Guilford has violent tendencies that resulted in two deaths, including that of his 6-year-old cousin in May, Reed said.
Reed said the symptoms of his client's psychosis before the slayings of Sanfilippo, 29, and the boy, Christopher Montgomery, were "identical" in each case.
The violent acts were preceded by what Guilford described as voices talking to him and blackout periods.
Guilford is scheduled for a competency hearing in District Court today , where a report is expected to show two of three psychologists who evaluated Guilford found him competent, Reed said.
However, all three evaluations took place before Friday's slaying, Reed said.
A judge will have to determine whether Reed has a conflict of interest in the case because Sanfilippo, who was charged with 13 counts of possession of child pornography and drunken driving, was represented by another deputy public defender.
According to a police report released Monday detailing Sanfilippo's slaying, Guilford initially told homicide detectives that Sanfilippo grabbed his buttocks and said, "I'm going to take that."
A fight ensued, but Guilford said he didn't remember what happened next. Police said Guilford beat Sanfilippo in the head and stabbed him with a pencil.
Guilford then changed his story "and said that the devil told him that he needed to kill Sanfilippo, or he would make him kill himself."
Guilford described to detectives how he came at Sanfilippo as he was sitting in a chair, slammed him to the floor and choked him. Guilford said he didn't remember anything after that, the report showed.
A corrections officer discovered the bloodied cell during a routine check about 1 a.m. Friday. Guilford was sitting on the top bunk with a "blank stare," the report said.
Guilford was in jail after his May 26 arrest and is charged in the suffocation of his cousin with a comforter to quiet him so he wouldn't wake the boy's mother at their Desert Inn Road apartment, according to his arrest report.
Guilford told police he heard the devil's voice tell him "well done" as he left the room.
The 18-year-old's mother told investigators her son is bipolar and talked openly with family members about angels and demons and had mentioned "making sacrifices."
Police officials have said they are reviewing the classification system to determine whether anything should have been done differently.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at email@example.com or 702-380-1039.