Jury finds former Marine not guilty of ex-girlfriend's murder by reason of insanity


A jury has found a U.S. Marine veteran not guilty of the murder of his ex-girlfriend and the attempted murder of her husband by reason of insanity.

Although Levi Minissale, 26, was found guilty on Oct. 30 of the 2013 killing of Yesenia Gonzalez and the wounding of Gallo Ruiz in Mankato, the second phase of his trial focused on his mental state at the time, KEYC reports.

According to the Star Tribune, that phase ended on Friday evening and saw the jury return a not guilty verdict after eight hours of deliberations, saying he had been affected by hallucinations and mental illness that started when he was a Marine.

The court heard that Minissale is said to have faltered in combat and was "haunted" by an incident where he may have killed a group of civilians during a period of intense fighting in Afghanistan in 2011, the newspaper notes.

The Mankato Free Press reports Minissale's defense attorney had said he believed to be acting on "command hallucinations from a force he described as a spiritual drill instructor," adding that he had suffered sexual abuse from his father and other kids in his neighborhood when he was being brought up.

The prosecution opposed the defense's contention, saying he hadn't started exhibiting the levels of insanity being argued until he had been in prison for several months. It also noted that Minissale was in Gonzalez and Ruiz's home for 90 minutes before making the decision to kill Gonzalez – calling into doubt his claims of a "command hallucination."

Minissale and Gonzalez had been in a relationship until a few weeks prior to her murder, with Gonzalez said to have been in an open marriage, the Free Press reports.

The Star Tribune notes that Minissale will be civilly committed at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter, where he will receive "periodic evaluations."

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