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The New York Times, February 23, 1991

Man Acquitted of Killing and Boiling Roommate

After nine days of deliberations, the jury concluded that Daniel Rakowitz, a 30-year-old dishwasher and self-styled marijuana guru, suffered from mental disease or defect and thus was not criminally responsible for the Aug. 19, 1989 murder of Monika Beerle, whose skull he left in the baggage room at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in a bucket of kitty litter.

After jurors returned their verdict yesterday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Rakowitz thanked them and said, "I hope someday we can smoke a joint together."

"I won't fault you for your verdict," said Mr. Rakowitz, who had frequently interrupted the six-week trial with bizarre outbursts. "The prosecution had an overwhelming case against me. But I'll be getting out soon and I'll sell a lot of marijuana so I can bring to justice the people who actually committed this crime."

Mr. Rakowitz, a former mental patient, said during the trial that he would rather go to prison than a mental hospital because he did not like being medicated.

He testified that he did not kill Ms. Beerle, a 26-year old Swiss woman who studied dance at the Martha Graham School while working as a topless dancer. But he did admit that he dismembered her, bleached and boiled the bones "to disinfect them," and hid them. After rumors that a body had been boiled reached local detectives, he was questioned, and led them to the Port Authority Bus Terminal baggage room, where he had left her skull.

One witness testified that shortly after the killing, Mr. Rakowitz had served homeless men in Tompkins Square Park soup containing a human finger.

A native of Texas, Mr. Rakowitz came to New York in 1985 and walked around the East Village carrying a live chicken and selling marijuana, calling himself the "God of Marijuana."

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