A Mississippi man who beheaded his mother called out to reporters as he was being led into court on Wednesday, shouting, “I plead guilty… [I’ve] done it!”
Earlier this month, Terrelle Johnson, 29, was detained on murder charges after police discovered his 51-year-old mother’s decapitated body in his backyard.
The victim, Sherry Johnson, worked as a guidance counselor in Hattiesburg, where she was beloved by students and staff, according to local reports.
Police had been contacted by relatives and were checking on Sherry when they found her remains.
Johnson told concerned family members his mother was on a cruise, but she had previously never mentioned the trip.
According to the Sun Herald, it was revealed in court Wednesday Johnson confessed to the murder after first insisting his mother was fine and with friends on the cruise.
Testimony reveals he told investigators he beat his mother and that the attack “got out of hand.” Johnson said he choked his mother to death, the paper reports.
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The Sun Herald reports he told detectives he then cut his mother’s head off with a butter knife — at times, using his hands and teeth to decapitate the body.
Sherry’s head was found 15 feet from her body.
Johnson allegedly told police he left the body in the backyard in order to keep the house from smelling.
Johnson’s attorney, Jim Davis, acknowledged his client killed and decapitated his mother and told reporters he is considering an insanity defense. PEOPLE was not able to reach Davis Friday.