Crime & Courts

Attorney: Schizophrenic Woodstock man thought he was defending himself in 2015 slaying

29-year-old has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the death of 53-year-old Daryl Fox

WOODSTOCK – Attorneys on Friday gave their closing arguments in the case of a Woodstock man pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of murdering his roommate in 2015.

It was the voices in 29-year-old Branden Napolitan’s head that told him to kill Daryl Fox in their Woodstock apartment that night, McHenry County assistant public defender Angelo Mourelatos said Friday.

Prosecutors Randi Freese and Michael Combs said Napolitan didn’t have a strong case for an insanity plea because doctors previously testified that the man knew he was committing a crime.

Mourelatos argued that Napolitan thought he was acting in self-defense, and later told authorities he thought stabbing the 53-year-old Fox would mean “everything is going to be OK with me – like I’m not going to die.”

Napolitan has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had sought medical treatment for homicidal and suicidal feelings the morning of Fox’s death, Mourelatos said. The hospital, however, released Napolitan, who killed his roommate later that day.

“Unfortunately, this could have been prevented,” Mourelatos said.

Napolitan is accused of stabbing, strangling and striking Fox, then taking the man’s car and driving to Madison, Wisconsin. Court documents allege that Napolitan admitted to investigators that he stabbed Fox in the back.

Prosecutors said Napolitan’s actions after stabbing Fox were proof that he was trying to conceal a crime.

“Right before this murder, we have a licensed doctor saying he’s OK, and right after, we have the defendant running from everything he’s done,” Freese told McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather in court Friday.

If Napolitan had intended to cover up his actions, however, he wouldn’t have left the knife that was used in the victim’s car for police to find, Mourelatos said.

If Napolitan is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he could be ordered to receive inpatient treatment at a mental health facility.

Prather is expected to announce her decision March 28.

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