An Arlington judge decided yesterday to seal the psychiatric evaluation of Daniel R. Kfoury, charged with first-degree murder in the death of his housemate during what an affidavit described as an "exorcism."
The evaluation was requested by the defense attorneys, who argued in a brief hearing in General District Court that allowing public access to the report "would prejudice the case."
According to an affidavit for a search warrant filed last week, Kfoury, 30, told police that Robert C. Bloom died while Kfoury was performing what he called an "exorcism" on him. The affidavit says Kfoury told police he held Bloom's head between his Kfoury's legs and struck Bloom in the spinal area for about seven hours. Medical examiners determined that Bloom, 27, died of asphyxiation.
In a search of the basement apartment at 4907 N. Washington Blvd., where Bloom lived and Kfoury was staying temporarily, police seized a Bible, several handwritten notes, a tambourine, several books on healing and samples of carpet "containing possible blood," according to an inventory filed in Arlington Circuit Court.
Also during yesterday's hearing, Commonwealth's Attorney Henry E. Hudson asked for a forensic dentist to take a bite impression of Kfoury's teeth. When a medical examiner conducted an autopsy of Bloom, Hudson said, "she found on the arms of the decedent two very distinct bite mark patterns."
Hudson argued that a bite impression should be ordered because of "a very strong probability that the defendant placed those bite marks there during a very ritualistic kind of proceeding between him and the decedent."
Hudson also asked to have forensic experts examine a blood sample taken from Kfoury when he was booked at Arlington County Jail, where he is being held without bond.
"The commonwealth has asked for a blood sample . . . to make sure the defendant wasn't on psychotropic drugs," Hudson said. "The behavior demonstrated in this case is so bizarre that it either arises from someone who has a mental illness, someone who has such a deep level of malice that it is difficult to comprehend or that it was triggered by a controlled substance."
Defense attorneys argued that there was not probable cause to warrant either a bite impression or examination of the blood sample. John Youngs said that comparing a bite mark in skin with a bite mold of a person's teeth is not a reliable method of identification. Said another defense counsel, Frank Ceresi, of the blood sample: "We're talking about a warrantless search that has already taken place. There is no probable cause" to examine it.
Kfoury sat yesterday between two of his three attorneys, occasionally turning in his chair to glance at the two detectives investigating the case.
Judge Francis E. Thomas Jr. said he would rule later this week on Hudson's motions on the bite impression and blood sample. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18.