‘He chose hell’: Man accused of drowning his alcoholic dad while trying to exorcise demon named ‘Dirty Dan’
Jack Callahan. (CBS Boston/Screenshot)

A 19-year-old Massachusetts man has been charged with murder for drowning his father while performing what he described as a baptism and exorcism, according to prosecutors.

Jack Callahan had retrieved Scott Callahan -- his father -- from a Boston bar "not long after (the elder Callahan) had walked away from a treatment center for chronic alcohol abuse, according to prosecutors," The Boston Globe reported.

He had brought his father to Island Creek Pond in Duxbury, MA where he "believed he was baptizing his father," the Globe quotes prosecutors as saying. Here's more of its reporting:

"Jack Callahan said he was exorcising a demon within his father named "Dirty Dan" and had given his father a choice while they were in the pond — to go to heaven with him or to hell.

"I believe he chose hell," Jack Callahan told police.

"Plymouth Assistant District Attorney Shanan Buckingham said Callahan 'believed he was baptizing his father.'

"He was holding his father in the pond on his back like a baby and he continually dunked his head under the water about four to eight times. When his father started to cough and choke, he would lift his head up. And when the father started fighting, he would strike him and push his head back down into the water," she said.

"He did so until his father was floating and no longer struggling," she said.

"Scott Callahan, 57, was recovered early Monday morning. He was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy found water in his lungs and an abrasion on the top of his head, Buckingham said."

This is how Callahan's arrest was described:

"Jack Callahan was wearing wet clothes when he returned to his mother's Duxbury home around 2 a.m. Monday. She called police, saying her son appeared to be having a "mental breakdown," Buckingham said.

"The mother indicated that the defendant had not exhibited this behavior before and that he had no history of mental illness," Buckingham said.

"Callahan initially told police his father was missing and that he didn't know what had happened, Buckingham said. Callahan said he had blacked out after his father punched him.

"He eventually directed police to the park where an Uber driver had dropped them around 12:30 a.m. and provided a detailed account of how his father ended up floating in the pond.

"With the help of a friend, Callahan tracked his father to a bar, where they found him inebriated. The father balked at riding in the friend's truck, so the younger Callahan called an Uber. On the way to Duxbury, Jack Callahan called his mother, who told him not to bring her former husband to her home, Buckingham said."

In Plymouth District Court Tuesday, Jack Callahan "stood silently in a hospital gown, his hair disheveled, as the prosecution read the murder charge against him." He pleaded not guilty to murder and was ordered held without bail. His next court date is August 12.

Callahan's mother was in court for the arraignment with other relatives and the deacon of her church. They did not speak with reporters.

Kevin J. Reddington, Callahan's lawyers, said "a psychologist he hired had spoken with Callahan and concluded he was suffering from a mental health issue that made him a threat to himself," the Globe reported.

"He's a very nice young man. He comes from a wonderful family," Reddington told the judge, adding that Callahan had no previous criminal record. Callahan had been living with a brother in Colorado working in the logging industry but injured his back so severely he could no longer work as a logger and returned to Duxbury to live with his mother.

"My client had a concern for his father, knowing that he would be drinking and knowing that he shouldn't be," Reddington said. "He was going to try to take him back where he should be."


19-Year-Old Jack Callahan Was 'Exorcising Demons' From Father In Duxbury Pond Death, Prosecutor Says www.youtube.com