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Indiana Man Is Convicted of Murder

June 1, 2001

KNOX, Ind. (AP) _ A man who testified he may have been under the spell of witches when he fatally beat his 12-year-old stepdaughter with a rifle has been convicted of murder.

The man, who used an insanity defense, was found guilty Thursday in the death of the girl whom he attacked Easter Sunday last year. She died two days later.

The jury also found John Dumitru, 49, guilty of attempting to murder his wife, the child’s mother; three counts of neglect of a dependent; and one count of resisting law enforcement. He faces a up to 88 years in prison.

Prosecutors claimed John Dumitru, 49, hit Liliana Ciaprianu because she failed to dust a television to his satisfaction and had intruded on a conversation earlier in the day. He attacked his wife, Mariana Dumitru, the same day, they said.

Dumitru testified that he had been drinking brandy and could not remember striking the child. Medical examiners said Liliana was hit three to five times on the head with the first leaving her unconscious and probably brain dead.

Dumitru said he may have been under the control of witches as did his wife, who said the curse could have been placed on him during a February 2000 visit to Romania to visit his ex-wife. When he returned, he brought ``evil″ into their home, she said.

Dumitru will appeal the conviction, defense attorney David Brooks said.

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