“Does this look like someone who knows what he is doing is wrong?” asked defense attorney Lynn Calvacca in her opening statement at the trial of Bahsid McLean last Thursday. She was holding up a selfie (pictured above) of the cherubic-looking 26-year-old proudly smirking while holding up the decapitated head of his mother, Tanya Byrd. McLean is currently being tried for her murder on Feb. 26, 2013 in the apartment they shared in the South Bronx.
It is Calvacca’s claim that McLean should be acquitted on grounds that he is mentally ill. She said he is unable to tell right from wrong, after a lifetime of mental illness. She told jurors he started hearing voices at the age of 10 and is “broken” after having been in and out of psychiatric facilities for most of his life. Prosecutors, however, have a different story to tell.
According to authorities, McLean is a “cold-blooded” killer who stabbed his mother in the neck after an argument in which she called him a lousy father. Afterwards he went to a hardware to store where he bought a power saw to carve up her body. He then divvied up the body parts into suitcases and scattered them throughout the neighborhood. Then he reported her missing.
A man walking his dog discovered body parts inside one of the suitcases, and others began to call police as additonal suitcases were spotted. The officer that retrieved the suitcase containing Tanya Byrd’s head said it reeked of powerful cleaning fluids. He smelled the same fluids at McLean’s apartment while responding to his missing persons report. When the officer asked for a photograph of the missing woman, he recognized her immediately.
For their part, McLean’s family seems to be siding with the prosecution. Byrd’s sister, Cassandra McLean, 53, told The New York Daily News her nephew was dangerous and should be put away for life. “If he could do that to his own mother, imagine what he could do to a stranger,” she told the newspaper, adding, “I don’t hate him, I pity him.”