A man in the United States has been jailed after admitting to beating his elderly father to death because he believed he was a vampire.
Douglas Novak attacked the 92-year-old with the wooden arm of a dining room chair at the family home in Hempfield, Pennsylvania.
The court heard he then dragged his dad’s body under a shower and then to a bed.
Authorities were alerted to the death when police responded to a fire at the house.
An autopsy determined the man died from complications of blunt force trauma to the head, torso and extremities.
The blaze at the house started when candles used as part of a vampire ritual burned to the floor.
Speaking at Thursday’s sentencing, Novak’s lawyer said his client was mentally ill and was off his medication when he attacked his father.
He also said Novak stayed next to his father for two days because he wanted to kill him when he woke up by putting a stake through his heart.
Defence attorney Brian Aston said: “He believed what he was doing was killing a vampire.
“He lay next to his father for two days after the beating to kill him when he wakes up – to put a stake through his heart – because we all know that’s how you kill a vampire.”
But prosecutors disputed those claims, saying Novak told police he beat his father because the old man was hiding his phone.
Assistant District Attorney Leo Ciaramitaro said Novak’s confession to police included the real reason for the killing.
“The vampire story was just one piece of his statement. He also said that he beat his father because he was hiding his phone,” he said.
Novak was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and was treated for five months at Torrance State Hospital before he was found competent to stand trial last year.
On Thursday, Novak said he had never meant to kill his father but had accidentally come off his medication before the attack.
“I loved my dad with all my heart. He was truly my hero,” he said.
He also described his dad as his biggest supporter in his battle against mental illness.
Novak’s sister Natalie Shannon told the judge her brother had a violent relationship with their parents and often ignored medical advice about his mental health.
She added she wants him to stay behind bars for the rest of his life.
Taking to Facebook after the sentencing, she posted: “My brother Doug Novak, ‘mixing up his meds’ is a lie! He always went off his meds.
“You can ask anybody who truly knew him. His ex-girlfriends. You know who you are.
“There are many people who saw the violent side of my brother. My brother was abusing my parents for a long time. He took money from them.
“The reason why Doug didn’t have a long jury trial is because the truth would come out. If he decided on a jury trial, he most definitely would’ve got life in prison.
“I have been silent for a long time, about what my brother was like and what went on. I will not stay silent anymore. I am happy with the 10 to 30-year sentence.”
TribLive reports Novak will be allowed to serve a portion of his sentence at a mental health facility and will be transferred to a state prison once he is cleared by medical professionals.