A Florida man has pleaded guilty to killing his wife and five children in a grisly 2009 rampage, PEOPLE confirms.
Mesac Damas, 41, was accused of slitting the throats of his family in their North Naples townhome and then fleeing to Haiti eight years ago. His trial has been repeatedly delayed amidst questions of his mental competency.
On September 18, 2009, authorities arrived at the home for a welfare check. According to a police report obtained by PEOPLE, cops found the body of 32-year-old Guerline Damas in a downstairs bathroom.
In two upstairs bedrooms, authorities found the bodies of the couple’s 5 children: Michzach, 9; Marven, 6; Maven, 5; Megan, 3; and Morgan, 1. All six family members’ throats had been cut. Mesac Damas was nowhere to be found.
Police eventually determined that he had flown to Haiti. They arrested him in Port-au-Prince and extradited him back to the United States.
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He was charged with six counts of premeditated first-degree murder. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to the crime that Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk once called “the most horrific and violent event in county history.”
While pleading guilty, Damas was contrite.
“I just want to say I’m truly sorry, especially to the family of my wife,” he said. “I don’t see them here today, but I just want to make sure for the record they know that. I know how much they love their sister, their daughter, their grandchildren. And then I want to make sure that everyone knows that I love them the most.”
“I love my people, my wife and children,” he continued. “But this thing happened. I don’t have an answer for it. I wish I had an answer for it, but I don’t. When I stand before the great God, I will ask him a lot of questions. From now on, I’m just going to put my trust in him, and say sorry to the whole world.”
Damas has repeatedly insisted that he wants to be executed for the murders. He has waived his right to a jury trial, and will not present any mitigating evidence that could explain his actions. During Tuesday’s hearing, he said that he was pleading guilty to avoid crime scene photos of his wife and children from being shown in the courtroom.
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“I just want to show respect for my people that passed away,” he said. “Let them rest in peace.”
Damas’ court-appointed lawyers did not return PEOPLE’s call for comment. Prosecutors also declined comment.
He will be sentenced at a later date. A September 25 hearing has been set up, where both sides will discuss Damas’ mental state.