NORFOLK, VA (The Virginian-Pilot) – A Newport News man who beat one of his co-workers to death and injured another last year was found not guilty by reason of insanity Tuesday.
Circuit Judge Mary Jane Hall ruled after reviewing two psychiatric evaluations for Edwin Meza, 28, during a hearing on second-degree murder and aggravated malicious wounding charges.
Meza attacked two of his co-workers without provocation while they were doing construction work last August on a house on Lake Whitehurst, prosecutors have said.
He beat Eliane Dionny Pernas Fuster and Yojander Reyes with a crowbar on Aug. 18, 2016, witnesses testified during an October court hearing.
Pernas died three months later. Reyes was left with a broken skull and needed three surgeries to put screws in his arm. He previously testified that one side of his face is paralyzed and he can barely hear out of one ear.
Meza told the judge through his interpreter Tuesday that he didn’t mean to harm the men. Meza is from Honduras and does not speak English.
His sister, Lourdes Meza, 32, cried as she watched her brother explain that he didn’t know what he was doing at the time.
Santiago Calderone, another worker who was there during the attack, said Pernas and Reyes were pulling up floorboards when Meza suddenly hit Pernas in the back of the head with the crowbar, according to a stipulation of facts filed in court. Then, he went after Reyes.
When officers arrived, they found Pernas unconscious. He never woke up.