A Massachusetts man killed his father while “baptizing” him in a pond — in an attempt to exorcise his alcoholic dad’s demons, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Jack Callahan, 19, was arrested Monday hours after his mother called Duxbury police at 2 a.m. to report that he arrived home and claimed his father, Scott Callahan, 57, was missing, police said in a statement.
The younger Callahan, who was in wet clothes, told his mother, Wendy, he didn’t know where her ex-husband was despite riding in an Uber together with his father from Boston to Duxbury, the Boston Globe reported.
Jack Callahan initially claimed he blacked out when his father hit him several times at Crooker Memorial Park, where police said Scott Callahan’s body was found in Island Creek Pond.
He was later pronounced dead at a hospital and a prosecutor said an autopsy found water in his lungs and an abrasion to the back of his head, the Globe reported.
“He believed he was baptizing his father,” Plymouth County District Attorney Shanan Buckingham said in court Tuesday. “He was holding his father in the pond on his back like a baby and that he continually dunked his head under the water about four to eight times.”
When Jack Callahan began to choke and started fighting back, his son allegedly hit him and pushed “his head back down” into the water, Buckingham said.
“He did so until his father was floating and no longer struggling,” the prosecutor said.
The 19-year-old allegedly told cops he was exorcising a demon named “Dirty Dan” and gave his dad a choice to go to heaven with him or hell as they were both in the pond, the newspaper reported.
“I believe he chose hell,” Callahan allegedly told cops.
Buckingham said Jack Callahan had earlier tracked his father, who left a treatment center for alcoholism, to a bar in Boston where he was heavily intoxicated.
Scott Callahan, who had a previous traumatic brain injury that impacted his ability to make decisions, refused to drive a friend’s truck, so he and his son got into an Uber headed to Duxbury, she said.
But Callahan’s mother told him not to bring her ex-husband to her home, leaving the father and son to head to the park where the elder man’s body was later found.
Callahan’s attorney said a psychologist had spoken with him and determined he was a threat to himself while asking a judge to order a competency evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital, the Globe reported.
“He’s a very nice young man,” attorney Kevin Reddington said, adding that Callahan had no prior criminal record.
“He comes from a wonderful family … My client had a concern for his father, knowing that he would be drinking and knowing that he shouldn’t be drinking. He was going to try to take him back where he should be.”
But a judge declined the request and ordered Callahan held without bail on a murder charge. He had been living with a brother in Colorado, but injured his back and had to leave his logging industry job before returning to Duxbury to live with his mother, the Globe reported.
Callahan’s mother, who attended Tuesday’s arraignment along with the deacon of her church, did not speak to reporters following the hearing, according to the newspaper.
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