On July 28, 2021, Alexis Saborit was arrested after his girlfriend, America Thayer, was found deceased on a sidewalk with her severed head near her body. Saborit opted for a bench trial rather than a jury trial in May, and First Judicial District Judge Caroline Lennon found him guilty of first-degree premeditated murder. He initially pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness.
On the day of the killing, Saborit and Thayer reportedly got into an argument because Saborit refused to attend a court hearing for an arson charge.
According to a Scott County court document filed July 17, Saborit’s trial went into a second phase to determine his "state of mind and resulting culpability." The judge heard from two experts, Dr. Andrea Lovett and Dr. Kathryn Jameson. Saborit has a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for domestic abuse, domestic battery, false imprisonment, and more.
Thayer’s friend spoke with Saborit’s probation officer in 2020 because they were worried about Saborit’s physical and mental abuse of Thayer. The friend argued Saborit was "mentally ill to an extreme extent" and that Thayer would likely "end up dead soon."
The probation officer spoke with Thayer, who said her friend "fabricated the story."
Saborit got into a major car accident while driving drunk in 2017 and ended up in a coma with a traumatic brain injury. After that, he reportedly "began experiencing auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions."
Following his arrest for Thayer’s death, he "demonstrated significant symptoms of psychosis evidenced by disorganized thought processes. paranoia, and bizarre delusions." While in jail, he became convinced his food was poisoned.
While speaking with Lovett, Saborit would start to answer questions in a "clear and coherent way, but then devolve into confusing and disorganized statements."
He told Jameson he knew it was "wrong to kill another person," but also said he thought Thayer “injected someone in his head and paid someone to put something in his drink and rape him.”
Lovett determined at the end that Saborit’s actions on the day of the killing "stemmed from a primary mental illness rather than from the effects of illicit drugs or alcohol," and that he has experienced psychotic episodes.
Jameson told the court Saborit "was experiencing genuine symptoms of a psychotic disorder on the date of the defense."
Additionally, Jameson noted that while Saborit knew that his actions were wrong, he "did not appreciate their moral wrongfulness."
Judge Lennon determined he was therefore not guilty by reason of mental illness and she ordered him to be transferred to a facility run by the Commission of Human Services.