A Michigan man who allegedly confessed last month to slaughtering his Grindr date in his basement and then eating parts of his body will be allowed to plead insanity, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Authorities say Mark Latunski, 50, has admitted to the fatal stabbing of 25-year-old Kevin Bacon on Dec. 24. He allegedly told cops he fatally stabbed Bacon in the back, before slicing his throat and cutting off one of his testicles, which he later cooked and ate.
Bacon, a hairstylist and student at the University of Michigan-Flint, allegedly met Latunski through the popular dating app Grindr. He was found on Dec. 28 at Latunski’s home, about 30 minutes away from campus.
Latunski has been charged with one count of open murder and one count of mutilation of a human body and is currently being held without bond at Shiawassee County Jail.
“He obviously got into something he wasn’t prepared for,” Bacon, his father, said in a Monday press conference. “We all make mistakes. It’s gut-wrenching to hear the details, and we’re just beside ourselves.”
The tragic slaying comes after two men, who also met Latunski through the dating app, fled his basement in October and November, authorities said. Although both men were partially clothed and terrified when they ran out of his home, they declined to press charges and claimed the encounters were consensual.
During a brief hearing on Wednesday, Shiawassee Chief District Judge Ward L. Clarkson approved the defense team’s request to use the insanity defense and have their client undergo competency evaluations.
In court documents filed Tuesday, public defense attorney Douglas Corwin highlighted Latunski’s history of mental illness and several outlandish claims he has made since his arrest—including that he is a royal from another country and the victim of an international assassination conspiracy.
“He believes there is this international conspiracy to steal his money," Corwin wrote, according to court documents obtained by WMEN. “To rob him of any type of power. He just has these grandiose claims. Those are being investigated by our office and I do believe our prosecutor's office as well.”
In an attempt to explain why Latunski stated his name was Edgar Thomas Hill during his Dec. 30 arraignment, Corwin wrote Latunski believes “he is a noble person from the Thomas Clan of Wales” and is using the false name “in order to protect [himself],” according to the documents.
Bacon was reported missing on Dec. 25 after his family became concerned when he didn’t come home for a family holiday breakfast. Later that day, police found Bacon’s car at a Family Dollar store with his phone, wallet, and some clothes inside.
On Dec. 28, Michigan State Police and the Clayton Township Police Department performed a welfare check on Latunski’s home, after finding Bacon’s conversations on Grindr, authorities said.
Upon entering the home, authorities found Bacon naked and hanging by his ankles from the ceiling. Latunski allegedly confessed that he had murdered Bacon before tying a rope around his ankles and hanging him on a rafter, according to a court transcript obtained by MLive.
He also allegedly admitted that he used the knife to cut off one of Bacon’s testicles—which he later ate. Bacon’s cause of death will not be determined until after an autopsy report is completed, the medical examiner’s office told The Daily Beast.
“Given the nature of the crime itself, you’ve got to send him for this evaluation now,” Corwin said during the Wednesday hearing.
The evaluation, which will be completed within the next three months, will be performed at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry and will determine if he can stand trial.
Authorities say Latunski was on their radar months before the tragic Christmas Eve slaying after two men were seen fleeing the 50-year-old’s basement. In October, one unnamed man from New York allegedly called police after hopping a fence and said the 50-year-old used leather ankle straps and a chain to restrain him.
The next month, a man allegedly ran from Latunski’s house wearing only a leather kilt, bleeding from his mouth. He claimed he was being chased by Latunski, who told authorities that he just wanted his $300 piece of clothing back.
The man said “everything that happened inside that house was consensual,” a Michigan State Police spokesperson said. “Nobody on that date wanted to file a complaint, nobody admitted to being a victim. There was nothing criminal in nature on that date where we could pursue this further.”
In addition to the suspicious encounters, court records also indicate Latunski has a lengthy criminal history, including a 2013 charge for allegedly taking two of his four children from their mother. While those charges were dismissed, his ex-wife claimed in one motion that Latunski was diagnosed with depression, paranoid schizophrenia, and exhibits traits of a personality disorder.
Latunski has also had at least four mental health commitments ordered by two different judges, according to the Tuesday motion, stating that his last husband left him because of “increasing mental health issues and fearing for his life.”