A murder trial today in Alexandria, Virginia, included testimony that the accused murderer was encouraged after hearing messages in “Let it Be” by the Beatles. Pankaj Bhasin was previously reported to have killed Branford Jackson by stabbing him multiple times because Bhasin believed the victim was a werewolf. Bhasin jumped into a stranger’s Mercedes without clothes and covered in blood on an Alexandria street last July.
Alexandria police said Bhasin stabbed Jackson dozens of times with a box cutter and used a dry-erase marker in the attack. The cap of the dry-erase marker was found in the victim’s body. The marker itself was found in the Mercedes with Bhasin.
Bhasin was from New Jersey but drove to the Washington, D.C., area before Jackson was brutally stabbed.
Testimony in the fifth day of the murder trial included Bhasin’s defense team psychiatrist, who is supporting the defendant’s insanity defense.
According to the testimony, as Bashin was driving to Washington the day of the murders, he had second thoughts and decided to turn around and head back home to New Jersey where his parents live.
Before he was able to turn around and abandon his plans, the 1970 song “Let It Be” by the Beatles came on his car radio. Bhasin believed the song urged him onward to complete his journey that resulted in Jackson’s murder, according to court testimony today. Bhasin thought that the Beatles were talking to him and suggesting that he not abandon his plans, according to testimony, and therefore he drove on, ending up at the business where Jackson worked.
Bhasin had previously set his GPS to “HOME,” which sent him to the Washington, D.C., area where he once lived, according to testimony. Once he arrived in Washington, Bhasin told his psychiatrist that his GPS somehow sent him to the central business district in Alexandria, Va., where Jackson was working as a manager of a window supplier. Bhasin did not know why his GPS sent him to the victim’s location.
Bhasin also indicated he began to heavily use marijuana in the weeks before the killing.
Earlier testimony in the trial indicated that Bhasin thought that Jackson was a werewolf.
Charles Manson also believed that the Beatles were directing him and the actions of his murderous followers.
Manson became obsessed with the Beatles’ White Album, which included a song called “Helter Skelter.” Manson believed the Beatles had sent subtle, coded messages about the race war through the songs on the album that predicted both the war and the Manson Family’s eventual rule over the survivors. Manson took the name of his doomsday scenario from the song “Helter Skelter,” but interpreted lyrics from songs across the album