Gary Sherrill update: $1 million bond for Phoenix man who killed son with ax

PHOENIX - A 51-year-old Phoenix man remains jailed on a first-degree murder charge in the ax killing of his 13-year-old son.

Gary Reagan Sherrill is being held in lieu of $1 million bond. That's a result of his appearance before a judge Wednesday after being arrested on New Year's Eve.

Police discovered the boy dead after going to Sherrill's home in response to a check-welfare request by Sherrill's ex-wife, the boy's mother.

Family friend, Juliet Shelton, told ABC15 she has known Sherrill all her life.

"He's always been really weird and paranoid," said Shelton.

And that paranoia concerned everyone in his life. His own mother wrote a letter to a judge back in 2010.

She told the judge that she was "worried about her son."

She stated he "uses morphine" to help with his pain from Peripheral Neuropathy but he is "now heavily medicated causing paranoia." She also said her son has had drug problems for the past 30 years.

And friends who know Sherrill say his paranoia was getting worse.

Shelton said she saw that paranoia first hand and called police one week before Sherrill's son was found dead.

"He came to my house on Christmas. He started to yell at my dad. He was lying down in my car port. He was just ranting," said Shelton.

Police say Sherrill admitted that he killed his own son because he thought the 13-year-old boy was a demon and was going to eat him.

"I think he is crazy and he honestly believed that. I think he is insane and he shouldn't have been with his son," said Shelton

She believes Sherrill is suffering from mental illness and is battling a lifelong addiction to drugs.

Court documents show that his ex-wife told a judge Sherrill checked into a drug rehab facility six times over the course of eight years, but it wasn't enough.

Sherrill denied any allegations of abuse and stated he loved both of his children very much.

In 2006, he told his wife in a letter that he has an addiction problem and promised to get help.

It's not immediately known whether Sherrill has a lawyer. He faces several court dates this month.

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