A 19-year-old man from Duxbury accused of killing his father told police in the Massachusetts town he dunked the older man's head in a pond in a bid to baptize and rid him of demons, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Jack Callahan told police he had an altercation with his father, Scott Callahan, at Island Creek Pond and, believing his father was possessed, attempted to rid him of demons by plunging his head in the water, prosecutors said.
Callahan pleaded not guilty in Plymouth District Court Tuesday, a day after being arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of his father, whose body was pulled from the pond. A judge ordered him held without bail and to be taken to a psychiatric facility for an evaluation.
Duxbury police were called just after 2 a.m. Monday from a woman who said her 19-year-old son had come home saying his father was missing, prosecutors said. Investigators learned that the father and son had been dropped off at Crocker Park by an Uber driver and that the younger Callahan was acting "erratically," according to Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz.
According to Cruz's office, Callahan had traveled to Boston to pick up his father and return to Duxbury in a rideshare vehicle.
Callahan allegedly said he and his father were heading to Duxbury, but his mother -- who is divorced from Callahan's father -- would not allow the older man in the house. Instead, the two went to the pond.
Callahan allegedly told police he got into an altercation with his father and that his father punched him in the face. The younger Callahan said he repeatedly dunked his father's head in the water until he stopped moving, according to prosecutors.
Callahan allegedly said he left his father at the pond to decide whether he wanted to go to heaven or hell.
When police and firefighters arrived at the park, they found the son's belongings, then began a search for the father. Scott Callahan was found and brought to shore, according to the district attorney's office.
He was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of death.
Jack's uncle, Bill Hall Jr., said in a phone interview that he was shocked and confused by the news.
"He's a good kid. He's smart, he's nice. He's not a violent person," Hall Jr. said.
A neighbor, Mark Winchester, described seeing the unusual police presence near his home.
“A couple of times a month there may be some kids here, a car and the police will show up and tell them to leave. But it was a lot more last night," Winchester said. "Probably 20 or 30 trucks and fire engines."
The incident remains under investigation. Callahan is next scheduled to appear in court on August 12.