'Son of Satan' not guilty by reason of insanity in attack on woman
URBANA — A Champaign man who burst into the home of a stranger and tried to kill one of two women who were there has been acquitted of his crimes.
Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd on Monday found Aaron Munds, 40, who last lived on Holmes Court, not guilty by reason of insanity of home invasion and the attempted first-degree murder of Patricia Ebeling.
The 67-year-old Urbana woman was caring for her older sister, who has Alzheimer's, at her sister's rural Thomasboro home on March 17 when a man knocked at the door around 12:45 p.m. Thinking he was there to do business with her nephews, Ebeling opened the door to take a piece of paper from him.
That's when the smiling man transformed into what Ebeling described as a demon, pushed his way in and announced, 'I am the son of Satan and I am here to kill you.'
Ebeling told The News-Gazette in March that what followed was a major struggle between her and the man later identified as Munds as he put his hands around her throat and began to choke her by digging his thumbs into her windpipe, repeating his 'Son of Satan' proclamation.
Kicking and screaming, she got away from him in the kitchen and made her way to the yard, where she fell in mud. Munds was right behind, got Ebeling on her back and had a knee on her chest and he tried again to choke her.
It was only when Ebeling's older sister, Joan Hall, 72, came out to try to help Ebeling and fell, that Munds let go of Ebeling. By that time, she had ripped his glasses off and scratched his face as she tried to fight him off.
Inside earlier, Ebeling had gotten to a phone and called 911 but Munds ripped it from her hands. When deputies arrived, they found Munds sitting on a back deck with Hall, holding her hand.
Munds was taken into custody without a fight by several deputies who had shown up. He's been at the county jail since March 17.
In early May, Ladd found Munds unfit to stand trial but while he waited for a bed to become available at a state mental health center, Munds attained fitness. His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones, said Munds had been taking medication while in the jail for his mental illnesses.
On the morning of the attack, Miller-Jones said, Munds had sought treatment from his psychiatrist at Carle but was told to drive himself to the hospital. Instead, he returned home with his father-in-law and later took his father-in-law's car and went to the rural Thomasboro home.
Miller-Jones and Assistant State's Attorney Scott Bennett presented the police reports about the attack and an evaluation of Munds by Champaign psychiatrist Dr. Albert Lo to Ladd for her consideration.
Ladd had read all that information before Monday's court hearing, which took fewer than five minutes. She said based on Lo's report, it was clear that Munds could not appreciate the criminality of his conduct on March 17.
Lo wrote that Munds has a history of psychiatric illness and was previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Sleep deprived and depressed for a long time, Lo said, Munds eventually "became actively psychotic and then acted upon his psychosis. At that point in time he apppeared to be controlled by an irresistible influence and unable to conform his behaviors to the requirements of the law."
Munds will next be sent to a secure state mental health institution for an evaluation to see if he should have inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Should inpatient treatment be recommended, Munds may not be held for longer than 30 years, the maximum sentence he could have received for the crime had he been convicted.
Ladd set his review date for Aug. 1.