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In mental report, man charged in attack on canoeists in Arkansas says he wanted them to kill him

by Dave Hughes | November 18, 2017 at 4:30 a.m. | Updated November 20, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

A Florida man diagnosed with major depression said in a report that he hoped that by attacking two canoeists in Franklin County last summer, they would kill him.

A forensic psychologist said in his mental evaluation report Nov. 7 that Michael Warrington's depression was a mental illness but he did not have a mental defect and that he could appreciate the criminality of his conduct in the July 3 attack and could have stopped himself from committing the attacks.

Court records show his attorney, Public Defender Sarah Capp, has filed notice of intent to pursue a mental disease or defect defense.

Warrington, 50, of Chipley, Fla., is charged in Franklin County Circuit Court with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree battery and aggravated assault in the attack on two Oklahomans, Christopher Bellinger and Tori Harris, who were canoeing on the Mulberry River. No trial date has been set.

According to court records, Warrington was accused of slashing Bellinger with a knife, for which Bellinger was airlifted to a hospital for treatment. Warrington held Harris at knifepoint briefly before releasing her, the records showed.

The mental evaluation, conducted by psychologist Paul Deyoub, said that after leaving Arkansas, Warrington traveled to Naples, Fla., where his ex-wife lived. He wanted to kill himself there so his ex-wife could tend to his burial.

Warrington sent a text message to his ex-wife, saying he did not try to kill Bellinger but wanted Bellinger to kill him, the report said.

"Now I say I am so sorry for what I did but I needed him to hit me in the head with that hatchet but he was too good of a person to do so even under the duress I put him in," Warrington wrote.

Deyoub's report said Warrington took several Advil tablets at a motel and passed out, waking up in the hospital under arrest by Florida authorities. He was returned to Franklin County in August.

An affidavit for the arrest warrant against Warrington said Bellinger and Harris went ashore near the Redding Campground on the Mulberry River at a spot called Huggins Loop. Warrington was camping there.

Warrington told authorities he had been camping at the site for about a week. He was making his living playing poker and was traveling from Las Vegas to North Carolina between tournaments.

The affidavit said Bellinger and Harris visited with Warrington and drank about three beers together. When the couple got up to leave to resume their canoe trip, Bellinger shook Warrington's hand and, as he turned away to leave, Warrington struck him in the back of the head with the knife.

Warrington then jumped down to the riverbank and grabbed Harris. He held the knife to her throat and said "I have all I need right here," the affidavit said.

Harris told authorities, according to the affidavit, that Harris dropped to her knees, covered her neck with her hands and pleaded with Warrington not to hurt her.

Bellinger recovered from the blow to the head, grabbed a rock and began to approach Warrington, then exchanged the rock for a tent hammer he came across. Warrington shoved Harris aside and slashed at Bellinger's arm.

Bellinger was able to get the knife away from Warrington, the affidavit said, and Warrington fell to the ground and begged Bellinger not to hit him. Bellinger ran to the canoe and he and Harris hurried to the Redding Campground, where medical personnel met them.

Warrington left the area, heading to Florida.


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Metro on 11/18/2017

Print Headline: In mental report, Floridian says he wanted canoeists to kill him


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