A New Jersey-area college student is accused of killing his grandfather with an ax — and the alleged killer is apparently claiming he was ordered to do so by God.
According to reports coming out of the city of Elmwood Park, New Jersey, 21-year-old Jason Vicari was taken into custody on charges of murder last week after his father called police with a disturbing message.
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NJ.com reports that Vicari’s father called 9-1-1 around 9:30 a.m. local time on October 19 to report that Jason, a college student at Rutgers University, had “barricaded himself inside” his grandfather’s home in the New Jersey city.
A probable cause affidavit from the case, first obtained by People, further stated that Jason’s father reported that his father — Jason’s grandfather, Ronald Vicari — was also in the home and seriously wounded (below):
“[Jason’s father] also indicated that his father was lying in the bathroom, unconscious with a wound to his head and the bathroom window was broken.”
Police officers responded to Ronald’s home, where they made contact with Jason and, less than an hour after that initial 9-1-1 call, they were able to take him into custody.
Once at the house and having taken the young man into custody, officers asked Jason if anyone else was inside. According to the affidavit, Jason’s response was chilling:
“For the safety of the SWAT team who were about to make entry into the residence, a SWAT member asked Mr. Jason Vicari who was inside and [he] responded ‘not anyone alive.’”
Upon entering the house, that’s where police discovered the now-deceased body of Ronald with “multiple abrasions to his head.” According to police, the old man allegedly died after being attacked with an ax. He was 81 years old at the time of his death.
His grandson was arrested at that point, and later charged with murder, burglary, and weapons possession in connection with the death.
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Once in custody, Jason reportedly stated “God told me to do it” to responding police officers. A SWAT team member allegedly heard Vicari “spontaneously utter” the statement from the back of an ambulance.
Later, when detectives officially interviewed the college student, he apparently doubled down on the claim, saying:
“He uttered that he believed his grandfather was a monster and that God told him he would have to change his religion.”
Ronald had been a longtime telecommunications engineer, and also served on the city of Elmwood Park’s planning board for more than thirty years. His neighbor, Geri Mola, remembered him fondly in an interview with NJ.com (below):
“He was as bright as they come. He was the first techie I ever met.”
The younger Vicari is currently being held in the Bergen County Jail; his bond hearing is set for Friday. It is unclear if he has yet entered a plea on the charges.
Here’s more from CBS New York on the investigation, and the charges against Vicari:
Our condolences go out to Ronald’s family, friends, and loved ones after this terrible tragedy. So sad…
[Image via Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office/CBS New York/YouTube]