Many high profile murderers have blamed their crimes on evil spirits. It is in part to give themselves a way out of accepting personal responsibility but also to defuse the natural outrage of the general community. The amazing thing is that for a large segment of the community this tactic works. People find it easier to believe in demonic influences than to believe that with an extremely abusive childhood or a loose gene here and there, a human being - just like them - can be a psychopathic monster.
The belief in evil spirits is not a harmless coping mechanism though. It is a very dangerous delusion. The following story is absolutely disgraceful and while it is about Africa, the only difference between it and stories in the west is the frequency and the ability to get away with it. The underlying belief is the same. It is time these delusions are treated as such and not legitimate spiritual beliefs.
In the last link about the Pentecostal exorcism gone bad the judge sentenced the perpetrators to 4 years each. Either these people willfully and with forethought took actions that a sensible person would know to be lethal and should have been imprisoned for torture and murder for a long time or they were both violently insane and as such should have been institutionalized until they are no longer considered a danger to anyone. Instead they are given a sentence that is more in line with white collar crime because their religion gives them special status.
It should be noted that while they are sorry the kid died they don't really consider the exorcism a failure:
Both Mr. Zepeda-Cordero and Mr. Osegueda have agreed in the months since Walter died that they were performing an exorcism. But it was not a botched exorcism, they said.
Mr. Zepeda-Cordero's lawyer, Andy Rady, told the court his client takes some solace in his belief that, in the hours before Walter's life ebbed away, the devil also left his body.
Well that's one way to do it. Maybe they only got 4 years because the were "successful".