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Police admit allowing unstable man to leave headquarters; man later killed his mother

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 10 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 12 2012 04:42:19 AM CST

Prelim for man accused of beating mother to death

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

Could cops have prevented a deadly beating this summer?  During a hearing Tuesday, Bethlehem Police admitted they allowed an unstable man to walk out of police headquarters just minutes before he allegedly beat his elderly mother to death.

Michael Lindgren is accused of killing his mother, Shirley, 77, and severely beating his father.  Ralph Lindgren, 78, survived but is still recovering, according to prosecutors.

Michael Lindgren faced a judge for his preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Officers testified the Lindgrens' home on Wall Street was a bloody mess the morning of August 22.   Shirley Lindgren was beaten so badly her blood stains reached a chandelier hanging from the ceiling, prosecutors said.

A detective testified Tuesday that Ralph Lindgren identified his son as the attacker, but also admitted he did not remember the actual beating.

Outside, officers testified they found an agitated Michael Lindgren -- covered in blood -- yelling "Help me!" to officers.  Before Lindgren was even questioned or given his Miranda rights, cops testified that he began incriminating himself.

"I had to do it," he allegedly told Officer Michael Karaboulias on the way to the hospital.  "I'm completely insane ... They took everything from me."

But this wasn't officers' first encounter with Michael Lindgren.

Just minutes before the attack, Lindgren showed up at police headquarters, yelling and demanding help.  Cops testified that a desk sergeant initially called for an ambulance to give Lindgren a mental evaluation.  But then, they testified the sergeant cancelled the request and allowed Lindgren to walk away.  One officer testified that Lindgren was not deemed to be a threat to himself or others.

Minutes later, police were called to Lindgren's parents' house after a burglar alarm went off.

Defense attorneys said Lindgren will soon undergo a mental evaluation.  Prosecutors also said he has a "lengthy medical history," but wouldn't say if Lindgren was medicated at the time of the crime.

During his last court appearance, Lindgren appeared disoriented, even laughing at times.

WFMZ's Jaccii Farris asked him why.

"Because you've been after me a long time to do this, haven't you?" he responded.

"Who's been after you?" Farris asked.

"The whole town," Lindgren answered.

Prosecutors are also waiting for tests to come back on the blood found on Michael Lindgren.

None of Lindgren's relatives attended Tuesday's preliminary hearing.  Judge Roy Manwaring ruled there is enough evidence to send Lindgren to trial, but both sides hinted that an insanity defense may be in the works. 

Lindgren's next court appearance will be February 7, 2013.