WESTBOROUGH -- An elderly man accused of murdering his wife suffers from dementia, and left a gruesome scene behind in the couple’s Shrewsbury home on Thursday, officials said today.
The body of Yuee Zhou was found on the floor of a blood-soaked bedroom of the couples’ condo Thursday about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Authorities said in a report that the 73-year-old Zhou was dead when they arrived, having suffered “severe trauma.’’
Zhou’s husband, Jieming Liu, was found sitting passively in a rocking chair with blood on his mouth, face, hands, and clothes, and “what appeared to be pieces of flesh and body about the floor’’ near him, Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said today. Authorities said the husband may have been eating the flesh of his wife.
The victim, Early said, had “severe injuries to her left arm including but not limited to the separation of the arm below the elbow.’’ He said the woman’s severed arm “was missing most of its flesh (and) the upper arm bone was also exposed and that was missing flesh.”
Early said police also found severed fingers, as well as bloodstains throughout the condo.
“It’s a very disturbing scene,’’ Early said. “I haven’t seen this in Worcester County, none of the police officers that were working the scene have seen this type of homicide before.’’
According to Early, the couple moved to the US from China’s Hunan Province six months ago.
Early, who was in court today, said it was clear to him that Liu suffers from dementia. The couple’s son, who discovered the horrific killing, told authorities his father is afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.
Early said the woman had “expressed concern in the past that she was worried” about her husband, but the district attorney said no restraining orders were issued, and police had not been called to the unit before Thursday.
According to a Shrewsbury police report filed in court, the couple’s son checked on his elderly parents every day around 4:30 p.m.
It was during his visit Thursday that he found his mother dead. His blood-soaked father repeatedly told him that the dead woman was not the person he thought she was, the police report said.
“This is not your mother,” Liu kept telling his son, identified by police as Yening Zhou.
The 79-year-old Liu was arrested Thursday and appeared today in Westborough District Court, where a not guilty plea to first-degree murder, mayhem, and assault and battery was entered on his behalf.
Lui, who wore a white suit police usually wear at crime scenes and a white cap on his head, appeared incoherent during the proceeding. A slightly built, short man, Liu moaned loudly, and seemed unsteady on his feet and was weaving back and forth in the prisoner’s dock.
A Mandarin-speaking translator stood next to him, telling him in his native language what was being said. But Liu appeared to take little notice of the translator, his attorney, Michael Hussey, the judge, or anyone else in the courtroom.
Lui was ordered to undergo a mental competency evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital.
Hussey spoke with reporters outside the courthouse.
“As you can see, he’s physically frail, almost 80-years-old, he’s in pathetic shape mentally and physically. There’s no question in my mind that he suffers from dementia,’’ Hussey said. “He hasn’t been able to recognize his son since he arrived in the country in the fall of last year. His son met him at the airport, and he hasn’t recognized his son since that time.’’
Hussey added: “He’s completely befuddled, I don’t even think that he has a good understanding of why police brought him here and for what reason.’’