The Journal Gazette
Friday, October 26, 2018 1:00 am

Put me down, suspect in mother's death says

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

When the detective walked into the interview room, he noticed Jason Alan Steiss had blood on his hands, face, arms and clothes.

“I need to go to prison for what I did to my mother,” Steiss told Detective Brian Martin after Fort Wayne police were called to the home Steiss and his mother shared at 2815 Stanford Ave. about 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Steiss, 34, is charged in the deadly beating of Joy Steiss. He told police he had attacked his mother, biting her on the arms and hitting, punching and choking her. He didn't say what caused him to attack her.

Joy Steiss was transported in critical condition to a hospital, where she died. Emergency room physicians said she had been strangled and was the victim of blunt force trauma, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Thursday in Allen Superior Court.

The Allen County coroner will rule on Joy Steiss' death. Her age was not available.

Stephanie Souther, the first responding officer, said in court records that Jason Steiss met her when she approached the home early Wednesday.

“I murdered my mother,” Steiss reportedly told her. When Souther advised him of his rights, Steiss said: “I am a bad person. Kill me. I need to be put down so I don't hurt anyone else.”

He told Souther he was possessed by demons and Hitler, court documents said.

His mother fought back, the 6-foot-7, 300-pound Steiss told police, and hit him in the nose.

Steiss also told Martin he had not completed school but had attended DeKalb, East Noble and North Side high schools. He said he had worked at Benchmark.

Steiss repeatedly said he needed to go to prison for what he did to his mother and that he needed to be “put down.” He asked for the electric chair, and when asked whether he felt bad for what he did, he replied “sort of, kind of.”

He then switched to talking about wanting to choose the best attorney because that might make it easier to talk about what had happened in court. Steiss told police he had a “trust” so he could pay for a lawyer.

Steiss has retained Lindsey C. Swanson, an attorney with the Haller & Colvin law firm, according to court documents.

Martin, the detective, talked to Steiss' father, David Steiss, who said he got a call from his son at 12:56 a.m. On a video cellphone call, Jason Steiss told him “I hurt my mom, hurt her real bad, blood all over, please help.”

David Steiss used his wife Kathy's cellphone to call 911 and stayed on the phone with his son until police and medics arrived, court documents said.

Steiss was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail at the Allen County Jail. He is charged with aggravated battery that inflicts injury causing serious permanent disfigurement and domestic battery resulting in serious bodily injury.

His next court appearance is Tuesday.

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