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May 14, 2014, 4:05 PM Last updated: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 7:00 PM
By KIBRET MARKOS, staff writer The Record
AMY NEWMAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
A Wayne man who stabbed his 85-year-old grandmother to death in her Clifton home three years ago was under the influence of the anti-depressant drug Prozac and should not be convicted of first-degree murder, his lawyer argued Wednesday.
Mark Dubas, 27, stabbed his grandmother, Barbara Tyzbir, eight times with a kitchen knife and a pair of scissors, ransacked her home, then fled with her jewelry and a car, prosecutors said. He was arrested the following day.
“He does not have the purpose or knowledge to kill his grandmother,” defense attorney Jon Iannaccone said during opening remarks in Dubas’ non-jury trial in Superior Court in Paterson. “He was intoxicated by psychiatric and illegal drugs.”
Iannaccone did not dispute that Dubas killed Tyzbir on March 31, 2011, but he argued that Dubas was too intoxicated to have the “knowing and purposeful” state of mind that would have made the killing a murder.
Instead, he said, the killing was aggravated manslaughter, which is defined as recklessly causing the death of another. Aggravated manslaughter carries a penalty of 10 to 30 years, while the sentence for a murder conviction is 30 years to life.
Robert Pringle, an assistant Passaic County prosecutor, argued that Dubas’ actions – including his false statements to police to cover up the stabbing – provide ample evidence that he was not suffering from diminished mental capacity.
“The bottom line here is that if he was able to act purposely to kill … he is guilty of murder,” Pringle said. “The evidence in this case is overwhelming that he was absolutely capable of acting purposely.”
Pringle said that Dubas stabbed Tyzbir in the head, neck and back, and that one of the scissor blades was sticking out of her back when police found her body, covered with a rug, in the basement of her home.
Prosecutors have said Dubas, who was a user of heroin and cocaine, attacked his grandmother when she refused to give him money for drugs.
Pringle said that after leaving his grandmother’s home, Dubas bought a disposable cell phone and purchased some drugs before parking the car on Maplewood Avenue in Clifton, where he spent the night.
He awoke the next morning and knocked on the door of a nearby home to ask for food and water, Pringle said. The residents gave him Kool-Aid and called police, Pringle said.
When police arrived, Dubas said his car wouldn’t start and asked an officer for a jumper cable. Dubas was arrested and charged with drug possession after police found drugs and syringes in his car, Pringle said.
Dubas was questioned about his grandmother after police found her body, Pringle said.
Prosecutors said blood found on Dubas’ pants was determined to be Tyzbir’s. Dubas had said it was a ketchup stain.
Iannaccone said Dubas had been prescribed five milligrams of Prozac in October 2010. The dosage increased progressively in the following months until he was receiving 30 milligrams a few weeks before Tyzbir’s killing, he said.
In January 2011, Dubas overdosed on heroin at his home and was rushed to the hospital, Iannaccone said. A few weeks before the killing, Dubas’ parents came home to find a note in which Dubas said, “By the time you come home, I will have been dead for a half hour.”
Dubas barricaded himself in a room during that incident, tried to overdose on heroin and threatened to slit his own throat, Iannaccone said. Police arrived at the home, broke down the door and rushed him to the hospital, where he was treated for two weeks, Iannaccone said.
“He was never suicidal or homicidal before Prozac, and he would never hurt his grandmother before Prozac,” Iannaccone said.
The trial is scheduled to continue today before Judge Raymond Reddin.
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NJ man convicted of aggravated manslaughter in death of his grandmother — (NJ.com)
By Jeff Goldman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on June 11, 2014 at 7:40 AM, updated June 11, 2014 at 7:44 AM
A Wayne man could spend up to 30 years in prison for stabbing his grandmother to death. Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office
PATERSON — A 27-year-old Wayne man faces up to 30 years in prison after being convicted of the aggravated manslaughter of his grandmother.
Mark Dubas stabbed Barbara Tyzbir, 85, with a pair of scissors in her Clifton home on March 31, 2011 after she wouldn’t give him money to buy drugs, NorthJersey.com reported.
Superior Court Judge Raymond Reddin acquitted Dubas of murder, armed robbery and criminal weapons possession in the non-jury trial. Dubas was also convicted of theft and possession of heroin, the report said.
The defense argued that Dubas was heroin user who was also under the influence of Prozac at the time of the killing.
Dubas will be sentenced to between 10 and 30 years in state prison on July 25.