NEW YORK (AP) — A 23-year-old man charged with killing and dismembering his mother appeared in court Thursday dressed in a garbage bag, and said he’d done nothing wrong.
Bahsid McLean was charged with murder, hindering prosecution and criminal possession of a weapon. According to a criminal complaint, he stabbed Tanya Byrd and then cut up her body with help from another man.
Byrd, a 45-year-old home health aide, was last seen alive Monday. Her remains were stuffed in four plastic garbage bags and scattered along four blocks, police said.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” McLean said during court.
McLean’s attorney for arraignment, Jerry Iannece, said his client wore the bizarre covering because he had been urinating on himself. His shorts he had been wearing were soaked through, so court personnel gave him the trash bag to wear, Iannece said.
Iannece said his client was off his medication, but didn’t say what type. McLean was held without bail, was placed on suicide watch in protective custody and was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.
“Everybody’s innocent until proven guilty,” Iannece said. “Obviously this is a troubling case, but we will investigate and defend it thoroughly.”
Medical examiners determined that Byrd died from a stab wound to the neck and officially ruled her death a homicide in the chilling case, which came to light when a neighbor’s dog sniffed out one of the bags early Tuesday on a Bronx street.
The dog found the first bag — a heavy-duty plastic garbage bag stuffed in a duffel bag, with the woman’s bloodied leg inside — in a trash pile in the Melrose neighborhood.
Police then found the three other bags and their macabre contents, including the victim’s head, part of her torso and other limbs. Witnesses told police an SUV dropped the bags off Monday night or early Tuesday.
Byrd’s family said she had wanted her son out of the house, and there was speculation that he had been abusing her other child, authorities said.
The young man had several arrests, including one for assaulting two police officers in Brooklyn in 2010. His father, James, told the Daily News that he did destructive things. “He set fires. Nobody could control him.”
McLean and an acquaintance, William Harris, 26, were first arrested on charges of unlawfully dissecting a human body and hindering prosecution. Each man initially implicated the other the killing, authorities said.
A blade was discovered in the apartment McLean shared with his mother, and a saw was found in Harris’ home, authorities said.
The murder charge was later added for McLean.
Harris was arraigned on charges that include hindering prosecution. There was no immediate information on his attorney.