SCOTT COUNTY, Minn. – A Scott County judge stunned the courtroom and the victim’s family members on Tuesday when she declared Alexis Saborit “not guilty” in the beheading death of his girlfriend America Thayer in July 2021.
The ruling reversed a prior finding by the same judge, Caroline Lennon, in May of this year when she declared Saborit guilty of premeditated first-degree murder in the gruesome homicide that took place in broad daylight in a Shakopee neighborhood two years ago.
The case shocked the Twin Cities after details emerged about Saborit, who is an illegal immigrant in the United States, and after witness accounts emerged and parts of the gruesome homicide were captured in photos and video.
Several residents in the Shakopee neighborhood where the midday murder took place witnessed the gruesome developments. One woman later told police that she saw a male pull a female from the vehicle by her ankles and then throw her severed head on the ground.
Saborit was out on bail, and had been expected in court at the time of the murder, in a felony case in which he was charged with first-degree arson and first-degree damage to property.
Court documents related to that case dug up by Crime Watch Minneapolis at the time revealed that the court had concerns about Saborit’s mental stability and the possible threat he posed to the community, yet he was released from custody at least twice on bond, including just weeks prior to the homicide of Thayer.
Alpha News also learned that ICE previously attempted to remove Saborit to Cuba in 2012 but was unsuccessful because his home country wouldn’t approve the necessary travel documents, an ICE official explained. He was eventually released into the community on an order of supervision.
An ICE spokesperson also confirmed that Saborit’s criminal history included multiple convictions in Minnesota and Louisiana for domestic abuse, DUI, and fleeing a police officer.
Judge Lennon’s ruling on Tuesday stated that Saborit was “not guilty by reason of mental illness” and said he was motivated in the murder by paranoid delusions. A court document filed prior to the new ruling describes evaluations of Saborit’s behavior and statements made by him by two psychologists upon which the not guilty verdict was based. The document outlined a 2017 motor vehicle crash that allegedly left Saborit with a traumatic brain injury followed by episodes of hallucinations and delusions as well as diagnoses of depressive, schizophrenic, and psychotic disorders.
The judge directed the Scott County Attorney’s Office to file a civil commitment petition and ordered that Saborit be held in custody pending transfer to a facility operated by the Department of Human Services.
Details about Saborit’s presumed future commitment and duration remain unclear at this time.
Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.
This article originally appeared at Alpha News and was reprinted with permission.