That's what I thought.
But 18-year-old Arthur David Macias Jr. thought losing his clothing was a wise move–and he was neither drunk nor high. No stimulants were necessary because, he later noted to a police detective, he was merely following instructions. Both God and the Antichrist had compelled his bizarre burglary, he said.
Macias' tale begins on April 10, 2005, when he claims supernatural messages entered his brain while he was walking by a Brea home at 3 a.m. and saw in the driveway a Ford Excursion he'd stolen and crashed a year earlier. After checking to see if the key had been left in the ignition, he says, he decided to go to the back yard, put a toy wagon
under the laundry-room window, climb into the house, strip in a bathroom, and then search each room for wallets, purses and loose change. Six people were asleep in various rooms.
Suspicious of his story? Yeah, police were, too.
The first victim, Eric Wall, was sleeping in bed next to his wife. Two of his children, who'd fallen asleep while watching a rented movie, were on the floor beside his bed. Two other kids, an infant girl and a 15-year-old son, slept in two other rooms.
Wall's instincts drove him from his slumber to open his eyes. He saw a naked man standing over him. The intruder held a 10-inch butcher's knife with both hands over his head, as if ready to plunge the blade into Wall, a plumber.
“I thought I was going to die. . . . I reached up and grabbed him and rolled him onto the bed,” he told cops. “We struggled. I yelled to my wife, 'Turn on the lights!' and I grabbed the blade and pinned him against the wall.”
The eldest son grabbed a baseball bat from a closet, tossed it to his dad and grabbed a second one for himself. Mom Stacy Wall screamed for them to beat the knife-yielding man with the bats. But there was no need. Macias quickly dropped the knife and explained, “God sent me to do this.”
Within five minutes, Brea police entered the residence and found a still-nude 5-foot-7 man of Navajo Indian descent surrounded by the horrified family. Macias told the officers, “The Antichrist sent me here” and, “Everybody should repent for their sins.” The police handcuffed him and took him away.
Macias' simple burglary story then turned more wacko. He told a detective that one of the messages he heard before entering the house involved lyrics to a song that played over and over in his mind: “Kill you in your sleep . . . They can't stop me.” He told a psychologist he believed the Devil had telepathically sent him the “Thug Luv” tune by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Okay. So what about the stripping? A prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney's office solved that mystery for Macias' jury.
“He thought to himself that if he killed the people in the bedroom, he would have blood all over his clothes, so he took his clothes off,” said prosecutor George Turner. “His plan was to kill them all, shower, dress and leave. . . . He wanted to be a mass murderer.”
The most likely motive? A court had ordered Macias, who attended the same high school as the Walls' older children, to pay $13,000 in restitution for stealing and wrecking the family's SUV. He'd only paid $200 of the debt.
According to Turner, “He's a sociopath.”
Macias disagreed, telling a wary Superior Court Judge William L. Evans, “I'm not so bad.” Joe Shirley, president of the Navajo Nation, sought leniency by telling officials that Macias' mother had died when he was 8 years old.
For 15 minutes of compliance with satanic orders, Macias received two consecutive life sentences, plus four additional years in prison for the four attempted murders, assault with a deadly weapon and burglary convictions.
(Wednesdays at OCWeekly.com, discover the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)
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— R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.