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Michigan Man Accused Of Christmas Cannibalism Pleads Guilty To Murder

Mark Latunski — accused of using Grindr to lure hairdresser and student Kevin Bacon to his house on Christmas Eve before killing and then eating part of him — has agreed to plead guilty in the case.

By Megan Carpentier
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

A Michigan man who was accused of brutally murdering a college student and then eating part of his body has decided to plead guilty in the case against his lawyers' advice.

Mark David Latunski, 52, pleaded guilty to open murder and mutilation of a body on Thursday, according to MLive. Because "open murder" can be either first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter, the court will hold a hearing on Oct. 18 to determine which crime Latunski will be convicted of — which will also determine whether he will ever be eligible for parole.

His lawyers said they had planned on arguing an insanity defense at trial and had advised their client against pleading guilty, suggesting he would be better off in a hospital than a jail setting, but ultimately accepted his wishes. Latunski was initially deemed incompetent to stand trial, but was deemed restored to competency in late 2020, a decision which the courts have since reaffirmed twice, according to Flint ABC affiliate WJRT.

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Latunski was accused of killing Kevin Bacon, 25, and then mutilating his body and eating part of it in December 2019.

Kevin Bacon Ig

Bacon, who was a hairdresser and studying to earn a degree in psychology, reportedly met Latunski via a dating app. He was last seen at his home in Swartz Creek — about 70 miles northwest of Detroit — on Christmas Eve 2019, when he told his friend and roommate that he was going on a date with a man he met on Grindr; he later texted her he was having fun and would be home late.

He never returned home. His parents reported him missing after he missed a family breakfast on Christmas morning. Police found his car in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store in Clayton Township — less than five miles from his home. It contained his cell phone, wallet and some clothes.

Police then discovered the messages between Bacon and Latunski and, on Dec. 28, went to Latunski's house to conduct a welfare check.

State troopers who searched the home discovered a hidden room in the basement. Bacon's naked body was in the room, hanging upside down; Latunski allegedly said he stabbed the young man in the neck, slit his throat, strung up the body and then removed and ate Bacon's testicles.

Mark Latunski Pd

Michigan State Police Det. Sgt. James Moore testified during an October 2020 hearing that Latunski admitted to meeting up with Bacon and killing him over the course of their date, according to WJRT.

According to Latunski's alleged account to police, he and Bacon agreed to engage in consensual role play, and Latunski met Bacon at the Family Dollar parking lot. There, he said he had Bacon leave his phone, wallet and clothes, and put on an outfit Latunski brought for him, as well as a blindfold, earmuffs and restraints before the two drove 24 miles west to Latunski's Benington Township home.

Latunski claimed to police that Bacon had mentioned being suicidal in the past and supposedly wanted Latunski to end his life — a claim his lawyers unsuccessfully tried to use to have Latunski charged with assisted suicide instead of murder, WJRT reported. Latunski said he killed Bacon with the knife and drained his body of blood to supposedly minimize his victim's pain, and had removed and eaten the man's testicles because it was a new moon and part of their supposed plan to "utilize Kevin Bacon’s body for different things," Moore testified.

Latunski had even bought a dehydrating machine for those purposes, Moore testified.

Latunski has a long history of mental illness and has repeatedly been accused of going off his medication. He told the court at his arraignment that his name was Edgar Thomas Hill and that he was Welsh nobility; his lawyers, in filing for his initial competency hearing, said he was "fixated on a conspiracy theory including multiple nations/countries and involved in multiple trust accounts."

Court records reflect that Latunski was diagnosed with major depression, paranoid schizophrenia and traits of a personality disorder in 2010 and 2012, according to MLive, and both his ex-wife, Emily Latunski, and his then-estranged husband, Jamie Arnold, said in court records and an interview that he'd been increasingly delusional in the months leading up to the murder.

According to MLive, Latunski was arrested in 2013 for kidnapping two of his four children and refusing to return them to their mother. He was declared incompetent to stand trial in February 2014, ordered into outpatient treatment in May of that year, and deemed restored to competency in January 2015. The case was dismissed the following month.

He married Arnold in December 2016; it wasn't until 2019 that Arnold reportedly became aware of the seriousness of Latunski's mental health issues, when his husband began making strange claims.

Latunski was fired for erratic behavior from his longtime job as a chemist in February 2019. "He was accusing his place of employment of contaminating the products he would make,” Arnold told MLive. He then began to claim that his children were not his, and that the neighbors were polluting their water.

In July 2019, Latunski was arrested for failure to pay child support and spent four days in jail. In August, Emily Latunski filed a motion to suspend her ex-husband's parenting time, claiming that she believed he had stopped taking his medication and that he'd begun to accuse her and her brother of poisoning his water supply. A hearing in the case had been scheduled for Dec. 10.

In September, Arnold and Latunski separated.

On Oct. 23, a bench warrant was issued for Latunski's arrest for failure to pay child support.

Latunski's neighbor, Michael Parks, called the police on him on Nov. 25 — the Monday of Thanksgiving week — after a nearly naked 29-year-old man knocked on Parks' door screaming for help at around 4:00 p.m. The man, who Parks said was bleeding from his mouth, was wearing a leather kilt and said he'd been chained up in Latunski's basement. When police arrived, Latunski said he'd given chase because the leather kilt was his and it had been expensive; the man agreed that the activity in the house had been consensual and didn't want to file charges. (He also returned the kilt.)

It's unclear why Latunski wasn't arrested on the October bench warrant during the November incident, according to MLive; he was, however, arrested when he showed up for the parenting time hearing on Dec. 10, and released the following day.

Just two weeks later, he killed Kevin Bacon.

Bacon's father, Karl Bacon, told Bay City CBS affiliate WNEM that he's glad Latunski pleaded guilty. 

"We won’t have to go through a lengthy trail,” he told the station. “Seeing Kevin’s pictures again in court, maybe we won’t have to go through all that.”

The family had been in court for the October 2020 hearing at which police testified about discovering Kevin Bacon's body and Latunski's confession. Karl Bacon is hoping that, on Oct. 18, the judge will determine that Latunski is guilty of first-degree murder, which would be an automatic life sentence. 

“I’m going to try to shoot for life without parole,” he explained.

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