Italian charged with killing Dublin landlord over chess dispute
A chess board is pictured in Los Angeles Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009.(AP / Reed Saxon)
The Associated Press
Published Monday, January 13, 2014 8:42AM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 13, 2014 11:32AM EST
DUBLIN, Ireland -- An Italian man allegedly cut open his Dublin landlord's chest and tried to eat his heart following a fight over a chess match.
Saverio Bellante, 34, was charged Monday with murder. Police say he admitted his guilt after being arrested Sunday at the home he shared with Tom O'Gorman, a policy researcher for a conservative Catholic think-tank in Ireland.
Pathologists said the 39-year-old victim suffered dozens of severe knife wounds to his head and chest, which had been cut fully open. Ireland's senior pathologist determined that the heart remained, but a lung was missing.
Police offered no explanation for what happened to the lung. Evidence suggested that O'Gorman's prone head and body also were bludgeoned with a dumbbell.
Bellante called police to report the killing. He claimed to officers that he had cut open O'Gorman's chest and tried to eat his heart after a dispute over a move in a chess match the two had been playing.
He offered no plea at his arraignment Monday in a Dublin court. When Judge David McHugh asked him why he had no lawyers, Bellante said he wanted to represent himself and would decline state-funded legal aid.
A policeman, Det. Patrick Traynor, testified that, when charged with murder in police custody earlier Monday, Bellante replied: "I am guilty."
McHugh ordered Bellante to be held without bail in Dublin's Cloverhill Prison and to receive a psychiatric evaluation pending his next court appearance Friday.
Bellante, a native of Palermo on the Italian island of Sicily, had worked in Dublin for the past two years at a pharmaceutical company.
O'Gorman lived with his mother in the prosperous west Dublin suburb of Castleknock. After she died in 2012, he rented a room to Bellante, who had lived there only a few months.
O'Gorman wrote frequent papers and blog posts for the Iona Institute, which lobbies against same-sex marriage and abortion rights in Ireland, a predominantly Catholic nation.
In his most recent article for the Iona Institute published Friday, O'Gorman described "the homosexual lobby" and "sexual license" as major threats to religious freedom.
Iona Institute director David Quinn said O'Gorman sometimes travelled to Italy to attend retreats run by a Catholic group called the Focolare movement, which seeks to promote Christian unity.
He said O'Gorman loved history, the subject he studied at bachelor's and master's level at University College Dublin, but was most passionate about the fortunes of Ireland's rugby team and the Liverpool soccer club.
"He had lots of opinions and liked a good argument," Quinn wrote in a tribute published Monday, "but he was good fun."