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Skull found in California garden leads police to homemade guillotine in gang house

Skull found in California garden leads police to homemade guillotine in gang house
District Attorney says ‘a lot of methamphetamine’ was used in house following man’s gruesome suicide using metal spike

California police have concluded that a man died by suicide using a homemade guillotine after a human skull was found in the bushes at a home in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco.

The head of Robert Enger was found in March. He had reportedly built the guillotine using a large metal spike instead of a sharp blade, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

According to police, Mr Enger was beheaded after his death by a man who law enforcement alleged moved into the home. The local paper reported that Robert Melvin Ross III pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of a memento of human remains, which is a felony. He later recanted his confession.

Sonoma County Deputy District Attorney Matthew Hubley told the Press Democrat that there was “a lot of methamphetamine use” in the home following the death of Mr Enger.

A woman informed police in March that she had found a skull when she was working in her brother’s garden.

Law enforcement found the skull, which was marked by scrape marks, had a wire attached to it, and was pierced twice, with police finding two holes in the cranium.

The skull was found to be part of the remains of Mr Enger. Police discovered that after Mr Enger’s death, his home had been used by people trading methamphetamine. Law enforcement found the homemade guillotine and the rest of Mr Enger’s remains in the home, the Press Democrat reported.

Mr Enger, 62, was seen alive for the last time on 2 July 2019, when he appeared at a neighbour’s home and was taken to hospital as he was bleeding from the head. He was treated and later released from the hospital.

Police found that the head wound was sustained during a suicide attempt using a 20 foot tall guillotine that Mr Enger had built.

After his death, Mr Enger’s home drew police attention because of the parties being held there by squatters. The house was locked up after being investigated by law enforcement.

It was a neighbour who went through the house with police who identified the item which would be determined to be a makeshift guillotine.

A suspect in a separate crime told police in March that he had seen Mr Ross remove the head from Mr Enger’s body using a knife while attending a party at the home, according to the local paper.

Mr Ross reportedly explained what had happened while in jail on unrelated charges.

“He gives us a description of the guillotine and how he’d found the body at the bottom of the contraption,” Mr Turner told the Press Democrat. “It was Ross who actually described the mechanism and how the body was impaled on this guillotine.”

Police later found wounds matching the bolt on the guillotine on the skull.

“Robert Enger placed himself under that contraption, manipulated it, was killed, and then his body was manipulated later by Robert Ross and others,” Mr Turner added.

Mr Ross has been charged with unauthorised entry of a dwelling, unlawful handling of human remains, and removal or possession of a memento from human remains. He pleaded no contest to the last charge on 3 November but has since taken back his confession. The charge could lead to three years in prison.

He’s still in custody and is set to appear in court on 20 December to be sentenced and for a hearing to take back his plea.

The Sonoma County medical examiner lists the cause of Mr Enger’s death as “undetermined”, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.