Suspect in 2015 New Bern triple homicide sent to psychiatric facility


NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) The suspect in 2015 New Bern triple homicide has been sent to a psychiatric facility after multi-day hearings, District Attorney said.

Eh Lar Doh Htoo, 23, of New Bern appeared in court on January 27-28 to determine his claim of legal insanity at the time of the killings.

On March 17, 2015, the New Bern Police Department responded to a call regarding an individual with a knife on Pasteur Street.

Police said they found Htoo outside the residence, holding a bloody machete and a cordless phone.

Htoo dropped the weapon in response to police commands and was arrested.

Police entered the residence and said they found three male victims, aged 12, 5 and 1.

Although the 5-year-old still showed signs of life, he was pronounced dead at CarolinaEast Medical Center.

Another sibling, a 14-year-old sister, had escaped the attack by leaping out of a second-story window.

The mother of the children, wounded in the attack, had run from the scene, trying to get help and to get Htoo to follow her, but he had abandoned the chase and returned to the house, armed with two machetes.

Both, the victim’s family and Htoo and his family, are Burmese refugees, having resettled in New Bern.

Police and detectives said they found the second machete on top of the porch roof, indicating that Htoo threw it there at some point during the killing.

Htoo lived next door to the victims.

A North Carolina State Crime Lab analyst testified the DNA found on Htoo and on a machete matched that of the eldest victim.

The SBI assisted with the investigation.

The surviving sister, now 19 years old, also testified and described the attack as she could hear it, barricaded in her bedroom and her escape.

Htoo was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, one count of felony breaking and entering and one count larceny after breaking and entering.

He was sent to the Craven County Detention Center and later transferred to a hospital facility within the Division of Adult Correction, as he stopped eating due to hallucinations, and begun to bite into his own skin, officials said.

The parents of the victims were present in court.

The medical evidence showed that Htoo was initially determined not to be competent to stand trial.

The doctors determined that Htoo was not, in 2015, and attempted, over the course of the next four years, to him to a level of competence necessary to proceed in court.

With a combination of medication and education, they were eventually able to render Htoo competent.

At that point, the defense filed a notice asserting the insanity defense.

All of the medical witnesses testified that Htoo suffered from and still suffers from severe schizophrenia and he could not comprehend that what he was doing was wrongful.

Following the hearing, Judge Willey concluded that Htoo was adjudged not guilty by reason of insanity.

Htoo was taken to a secure and locked facility at Central Regional Hospital.

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