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COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- A 20-year-old man will serve a life sentence after he was found guilty but mentally ill in the stabbing death of his mother.

Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds says Damian Cornell McElrath suffers from mental illness and was in and out of inpatient care for months before attacking his mom in July 2012.

McElrath acknowledged stabbing his 58-year-old mother Diane in the neck and torso that day. He then called police, changed his clothes and smoked a cigarette outside the home while waiting for police. The medical examiner testified that Diane McElrath was stabbed more than 50 times.

McElrath told detectives that his mother told him that morning that she was trying to kill him and had been poisoning him for years.

Cobb Superior Court Judge James G. Bodiford heard evidence over four days in the non-jury trial before finding McElrath guilty but mentally ill Thursday on charges of murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.

Judge Bodiford immediately sentenced Mr. McElrath to life in prison.

McElrath's attorney had sought a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

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