Forensic psychologist says man convicted of murdering 2 Putnam County boys could have experienced ‘meth-induced psychosis’

The sentencing phase for convicted killer Mark Wilson Jr. begins Monday, Oct. 24.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – The sentencing phase for convicted killer Mark Wilson Jr. begins Monday, Oct. 24.

A jury convicted Wilson last Thursday of two counts of first-degree murder for sneaking into his girlfriend’s sister’s house in 2020 and murdering her young sons Tayten and Robert Baker. He is now facing the death penalty.

Family members of the young victims feel like they received a victory with the convictions, but they said they did not receive the answers they were looking for on what would drive him to do such a terrible thing seemingly out of nowhere.

Although Wilson did not provide a clear motive for killing the boys, he did say he was on meth at the time of the murders.

“He didn’t even have a reason, and it was so disappointing and enraging to watch that,” Deborah Benson, the boy’s step-grandmother said.

Wilson told investigators he’d been awake for three days leading up to the killings and was on meth at the time. The Baker brothers’ grandfather told News4JAX Wilson wasn’t known to be violent, but also said he was addicted to drugs and paranoid, suspecting a neighbor was abusing his daughter and believing he was being followed by drones.

News4JAX spoke with Forensic Psychologist Dr. Justin D’Arienzo, who is not affiliated with the case, to learn more about how the drug use could have moved him to murder.

D’Arienzo said coverage of the case suggested Wilson could have been experiencing meth-induced psychosis.

“It is a psychotic reaction based on the drug use that mimics somebody that has schizophrenia,” D’Arienzo said.

He said the drug can make people agitated, suspicious and delusional including hearing and seeing things that aren’t present.

According to D’Arienzo, nearly 40% of people who use meth will experience some levels of psychosis -- even if it’s their first time.

“There are a lot of people who use meth who don’t commit a grisly murder like this,” D’Arienzo said.

D’Arienzo said sleep deprivation, a history of mental illness and stress can fuel psychosis.

As for answers, D’Arienzo said we can’t use reason to understand behavior that defies logic.

“That’s the biggest thing is why did Tayten and Robert have to die? Why? What is the reason? We didn’t get that, and we’re not going to get that. I don’t think we’ll ever get it,” D’Arienzo said.

The defense has several mental health professionals listed as witnesses we could hear from Monday.

Dr. D’Arienzo also said drug-induced psychosis isn’t considered insanity in court as long as the defendant took the drug willingly.

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