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Man Who Took Selfie With Mother's Severed Head Gets 25 to Life

By Eddie Small | December 5, 2016 4:26pm
 Bahsid McLean was sentenced to 25 years to life on Monday for murdering his mother.
Bahsid McLean sentencing
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THE BRONX — The man convicted of murdering his mother, chopping off her head and taking a selfie with it was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Monday.

Bahsid McLean, 27, was suffering a psychotic episode when he killed his 45-year-old mother Tanya Byrd on Feb. 25, 2013 in their Morrisania apartment, hacking apart her body and photographing himself with her remains, according to the Bronx District Attorney's Office.

The victim's family said they would never be able to completely move forward from the horrific case.

"We will never have closure, but we will go on," said the victim's sister Cassandra McLean-Smith. "We are a strong family."

Family members said that McLean was extremely jealous of the attention that his mother lavished on his younger brother.

He snapped in the winter of 2013, killing the mom, over boiling resentment that his mother placed him in foster care when he was younger, his sister said.

He then put her remains in garbage bags inside suitcases, told a friend, William Harris, he wanted to take out the trash and dumped them in the neighborhood, the Bronx DA's Office said.

The courtroom was filled with Byrd's family members on Monday, three of whom spoke during the sentencing.

McLean-Smith said she had been placed in charge of Byrd's 10-year-old son since her death, and although she had not been expecting this responsibility, she would not let him forget about his mother, who she described as her best friend.

"I will keep her memory alive in his mind and his heart for as long as I live," she said.

Bahsid's 75-year-old grandfather James McLean spoke as well, saying that he would forgive Bahsid for what he did but would never be able to forget it.

"I love you," he said to Bahsid. "I was the one to teach you how to walk. You broke my heart."

Bahsid's sister Porsche Lovett said she was not ready to forgive her brother yet, noting that she felt no relief about the case coming to an end and had lost the one person in her life who truly believed in her.

"I pray one day I will have the strength to forgive you," she said. "One thing is for sure: I will never trust another soul again."

Assistant District Attorney Aaron Kaplan called the case "one of the most callous homicides I've ever been a part of in my career" and requested that Bahsid receive 25 years to life for the murder and 1 and 1/3 to 4 years for dismembering the body.

Bahsid, who appeared in court handcuffed wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt and khakis, admitted to killing his mother and apologized for doing so, saying that he is constantly thinking about what he did and has an extremely hard time falling asleep.

"What I did to my mother was uncalled for," he said.

His attorney Lynn Calvacca acknowledged that Byrd's death was a tragedy but also criticized the family for not supporting Bahsid enough while he was growing up.

"What happened to that woman is awful, horrible, but don't say that you were there for him," she said.

She stressed that her client was a very sick man and that the prison system would not be able to help him manage the medication and therapy that he needs.

Judge Jeanette Morick-Rodriguez sentenced Bahsid to 25 years to life for the murder, 1 and 1/3 to 4 years for dismembering his mother's body and issued a 100-year order of protection against him for William Harris, who had helped Bahsid dispose of Byrd's body and who Bahsid initially tried to pin the murder on.

Harris ultimately pled to one count of hindering prosecution in the case, was sentenced to two to four years in 2014 and was released earlier this year, according to the Bronx DA's Office.

McLean-Smith told Bahsid that, although the family would be able to forgive him for his crimes, Monday would be the last day he would see them.

"We forgive you," she said, "but we will never forget what you so callously took from us."