A man who allegedly believes a higher being instructed him to kill his daughter — and that he must be executed so he, too, can join God’s kingdom — could be declared mentally incompetent to stand trial after a strong cocktail of psychiatric drugs failed to halt his delusions.
Mark Hambrick, who is accused of murdering his 18-month-old toddler Amina in the New Orleans neighborhood of Bywater more than two years ago, has steadfastly clung to the belief that Gold told him to carry out the slaying, NOLA.com reported.
Forensic doctors recommended declaring Hambrick “irrestorably incompetent” on Tuesday. Dr. Sanket Vyas said that despite a “very high dose” and a “broad-spectrum” of three different psychiatric medications, Hambrick’s condition hasn’t improved, stating that he’s unable to comprehend the legal advice from attorneys. Vyas said that Hambrick, who refuses to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, is purposefully seeking out capital punishment.
"He's not willing to work with his attorney in any other avenue," Vyas explained, according to NOLA.com. “He flat out told us that that's not something he is willing to do because he is going to push for the death penalty, because in order to fulfill this prophecy that involved the death of his daughter, God’s will is that he's going to be found guilty for this and be put to death and resurrected and his soul will merge with the kingdom of God.”
Hambrick had previously rejected taking any drugs, but eventually conceded, NOLA.com previously reported.
Judge Robin Pittman withheld her decision on the matter until a formal report is authored. The determination could postpone the trial, local media also reported. Hambrack, clad in a red hospital uniform, said nothing during this week’s proceedings.
Hambrick allegedly stabbed his 18-month-old daughter to death at their home on North Rampart Street in 2017. Authorities said he quickly confessed, according to the Times-Picayune/the New Orleans Advocate.
“God told him to murder his child so the State of Louisiana can kill him so he can be resurrected,” police said, according to a warrant, according to NOLA.com.
The man’s wife, Monika Gerhart-Hambrick, described their 18-month-old Amina as an “amazing little happy baby.” She told NOLA.com that her husband was a “public administration nerd” who worked for New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. She said the couple’s baby girl was born in April 2016.
“The only thing that makes sense is that Mark had some cataclysmic psychotic event,” she told the New Orleans newspaper in 2018.
Neighbors at the time were also shocked, stating that Hambrick appeared to be a loving father, and hadn’t shown any signs of psychological distress.
“I’m floored — there was no indication of anything at all,” neighbor Shannon Smith told Times-Picayune/the New Orleans Advocate.
She described the accused killer as a community leader.
“He was the glue,” the woman, a social worker, said.
Vyas, the forensic psychiatrist, is expected to turn over a copy of her written report to the case’s judge by Feb. 4, according to NOLA.com. If the court proceeds upon the recommendation of doctors, Hambrick would likely face indefinite confinement in a Louisiana mental hospital.
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