A Virginia college student admitted stabbing her friend and roommate to death, but blamed the attack on a psychotic episode brought on by drug use.
Luisa Ines Tudela Harris Cutting, 21, of Jeffersonton, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder for the killing of 20-year-old Alexa Cannon. She was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, the Roanoke Times reports.
Cannon, of Roanoke, was found dead at an off-campus facility in Jeffersonton back in January. Both women were students at Radford University.
After a neighbor heard screaming and called 911, officers arrived to find Cannon dead and Cutting covered in blood inside their apartment. Cutting told officers “arrest me,’ according to a search warrant cited by Virginia First.com.
Cannon suffered multiple stab wounds, police noted at the time. A butcher knife was even found "sticking out of her mouth.”
Cutting apologized for the killing Monday in court.
"There are no words for this tragedy and my heart is filled with sorrow and grief," Cutting read from a statement she wrote, her voice trembling, according to WDBJ7 in Roanoke. She went on to say “I am so, so sorry” to Cannon’s family.
While she never denied killing her roommate, her lawyer pointed to a psychotic break brought on by substance use.
"I am absolutely convinced she was undergoing a psychotic episode, but that was brought about, unfortunately, by her use of drugs," attorney Blair Howard told reporters after the sentencing.
One prosecutor said Monday that Cutting told investigators “she was doing cocaine with the devil,” the Roanoke Times reports.
Not just cocaine, though. She told investigators that in the hours before the murder, she also consumed alcohol, mushrooms, Adderall and Xanax, according to the Roanoke Times. She said she hadn’t slept in days.
Prosecutors said that after her arrest, Cutting was acting strangely, praying loudly and even trying to shove her hands inside her own mouth.
Cannon was a psychology major who was remembered for her strength and positivity, even when dealing with epilepsy.
"Alexa was a bright and beautiful person, she had tons of energy, she was unstoppable, she had health setbacks but she did not let those set her back," Rachel Thompson told WDBJ7 shortly after her death.
Cannon and Cutting were friends before they moved in together.
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