A mental patient charged with murdering a psychotherapist with a meat cleaver told detectives he felt she was attacking him, a police video shows.
"I didn't go there to hurt anybody," a mumbling but forthcoming David Tarloff told detectives on the February 2008 video, played publicly for the first time at a court hearing Wednesday.
He said he set out only to rob slain therapist Kathryn Faughey's Manhattan office mate, psychiatrist Dr. Kent Shinbach. When confronted by Faughey, "I thought she was going to kill me," said Tarloff, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and hospitalized more than a dozen times.
"She attacked me, and everything happened so fast, I swear to God," Tarloff said.
Faughey, 56, had never treated Tarloff. But he told police he bore ill feelings toward Shinbach, who had treated him during a 1991 hospitalization, Detective Robert Mooney testified Wednesday.
Bent on whisking his ailing mother out of a nursing home and taking her to Hawaii, Tarloff said, he decided to try to hold up Shinbach for $50,000 because he "thought (Shinbach) was rich."
Tarloff at one point said he had planned to hit Shinbach with a hammer, but then said he had meant only to tie the psychiatrist up and scare him into giving up money. Tarloff had called ahead to make sure Shinbach would be in but didn't realize Faughey would be there, he said on the video.
Tarloff encountered Faughey and slashed her at least 15 times, then attacked Shinbach and stole $90 from him when the psychiatrist tried to help her, authorities say. Shinbach was badly hurt but survived the Feb. 12, 2008, attack.
Tarloff has pleaded not guilty and is pursuing an insanity defense. The one-time telemarketer has called himself the Messiah, had visions of ghosts and has reported seeing the "eye of God" on a kitchen floor, his lawyer has said.
Wednesday's hearing is intended to determine whether Tarloff's statements to police can be used as evidence at a potential trial.
Several of Faughey's relatives attended the hearing, which was to continue Thursday.
"It's so hard to be sitting through this and seeing him, but it's just something we're going to have to do," said one of her brothers, Mike Faughey.