Man claims to be Jesus Christ, kills his uncle

Phillip Justin Markland shot his uncle 25 times.

Published 25 June 2014  |  

Highlands County Sheriff's Office
Phillip Markland

A Florida man was arrested Monday after shooting his uncle to death after a dispute.

Phillip Justin Markland called 911 on June 15 to report that he had killed his uncle, Thomas Markland, after his uncle shot him first. When officers arrived, he told them that he was Jesus Christ and could not die.

A witness told Highlands County Sheriff's deputies that the men were at a family gathering before the murder, and that Phillip was making strange statements.

According to an affidavit, Markland repeatedly told his family that "he was Jesus Christ and soon enough he was going to 'take everyone home.'"

Markland also "wanted to apologize for what he was going to do next," but he "could not speak of it now."

The witness said that Markland's uncle and other family members were afraid of him.

The first 911 call came from Thomas, 65, who told the dispatcher that he shot his nephew in self-defense. The dispatcher heard a voice say, "Shut your... mouth," then heard gunshots, an affidavit said.

30-year-old Phillip then called 911 – reporting that he had been shot, and that he shot his uncle.

"The defendant (the nephew) advised the dispatcher that he shot the victim (his uncle) in the 'head, chest, everywhere,'" the police report said. "The defendant said he 'unloaded,' his whole magazine on the victim and then threw his weapon on the couch."

The evidence does not support a self-defense argument for the younger Markland.

While his uncle was on the phone, Phillip "went into a bedroom, acquired a rifle and excessively shot and killed the victim," officers said.

"The initial gunshots would have disabled the victim (Thomas Markland), but the fatal gunshots were fired into the victim's body when he was facing away from the defendant (Phillip Markland). The physical evidence suggest(s) that the victim was shot and killed in an execution-style manner."

An autopsy showed that Thomas was shot nearly 25 times.

While receiving treatment at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Phillip told officers that "... it was impossible for him to die because he is Jesus Christ."

Highlands Today reported that Markland has been known to use K-2, or synthetic cannabis. It is unknown whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the murder.

What Others Are Reading
Reprints

More News in World