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Ex-MMA fighter pleads guilty to friend's grisly murder in Northern California

September 8, 2012 | 12:48 pm

ME.MMA.DeathIt was a murder so grisly that a local newspaper didn’t think some of its readers could handle the details.

“This report contains graphic content that some readers may find disturbing,” warned an editor’s note Saturday in the Times-Standard of Eureka, Calif.

Taylor Powell, 21, was dead on a couch when police arrived at the scene in the Northern California town of Requa, his tongue cut out, his chest carved open and his charred heart in a wood-burning stove.

Jarrod Wyatt, 27, was naked and smeared with blood from head to toe. “I killed him,” officers said he told them.

Wyatt was scheduled to go on trial next week in Crescent City for the March 2010 killing but Thursday night pleaded guilty to first-degree murder involving mayhem and was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

The two men were friends and mixed-martial arts fighters. They had eaten hallucinogenic mushrooms before the attack, prosecutors said.

An autopsy showed that Taylor had been butchered while he was still alive.

Wyatt had plead guilty by reason of insanity, but psychiatric tests deemed him fit for trial. His lawyer, James Fallman, told the Times-Standard that Wyatt decided this week that he did not want to testify, risk the possibility of a life sentence or subject the victim’s mother to the ordeal of a trial.

Under the plea deal, he will be eligible for parole in 2062.

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-- Alan Zarembo

Photo: Jarrod Wyatt tried to mount an insanity defense, saying he butchered his friend after they had eaten hallucinogenic mushrooms together. He pleaded guilty last week to murder. Credit: Del Norte County Sheriff

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