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Trebilcock "not responsible" for 6-year-old's death, community reacts to verdict

By HILARY LANE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - David Trebilcock, the man accused of killing six-year old Lauren Belius in her Sherrill home last July, was found "not responsible due to mental disease or defect" on all counts. Trebilcock was charged with second-degree murder, second-degree assault, and first-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Trebilcock will be sent back to Oneida County Jail where he will undergo evaluations by psychiatrists. Judge Michael Dwyer will then hold a hearing to determine which psychiatric center would be the best fit for Trebilcock.

The case was a bench trial, meaning Judge Dwyer rendered the verdict, not a jury.

During the reading of the verdict, Judge Dwyer said the prosecution proved Trebilcock killed Belius without a question. However, it was the testimony of Forensic Psychiatrist Lawrence Farago that shaped Dwyer's opinion. Dr. Farago was first paid to take the stand for the prosecution, but then hired by the defense when his 48-page report concluded that Trebilcock's paranoid schizophrenia led him to kill Belius because he believed she was the "Anti-Christ". Farago testified that Trebilcock did not understand what he was doing was wrong.

After the verdict was read, the Belius family, wearing shirts bearing Lauren's face, was visibly upset, clinging to one another and crying.

People in the small city of Sherrill, many who knew Lauren Belius, are also shocked at the verdict.

"I think it's ridiculous," says Ann Kraeger of Sherrill. "It just made me think what is the judge thinking?"

"Even though he is locked away in an institution forever, I don't think the safeguards will be the same and I think he is still a danger to himself and other people," says Glen Miley of Sherrill.

"I don't think the family is going to get that much closure off of that verdict," says Joseph Luckette of Sherrill. "That is really horrible and I think it's a bad situation for everybody. That man should be ashamed of himself."

Trebilcock will be committed to a psychiatric center for one year, and then will undergo another psychiatric evaluation at that time.

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