The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that jurors on Tuesday convicted Herbert Mike Merritt of first-degree murder. Merritt shot Anthony Laymond “Tony” Ford six times before stabbing him and carving out a piece of his chest cavity. The 49-year-old Merritt thought he was eating a piece of Ford’s heart, but instead ingested a portion of the dead man’s lung.
Merritt must serve at least 51 years in prison.
He contended he suffered a psychotic break when he killed Ford and was insane. Jurors deliberated five hours before finding him guilty.