JANESVILLE

A Rock County man has pleaded guilty to killing his 97-year-old grandmother, and a judge has ruled he was not legally responsible for the crime because of his mental illness.

Jamie Beggs, 37, was living with his grandmother, Kathleen Beggs, when he stabbed and strangled her last June at her home near Janesville.

He pleaded guilty Tuesday in Rock County Circuit Court to first-degree intentional homicide. Under the terms of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed with the findings of a doctor who diagnosed Beggs with a mental illness, which rendered him not legally responsible for the slaying, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.

According to a criminal complaint, when police questioned Beggs about his grandmother’s death he claimed he saved her soul because she was now a saint.

Under state law, with a finding that he is not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, Beggs can be placed under the control of the Department of Health Services for the rest of his life. He would likely be placed initially in an mental health institution with the opportunity to petition for conditional release every six months.

In order to be released he would have to prove he is no longer a danger to himself or others. A hearing on his commitment is scheduled Jan. 26.

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