UNION, N.J. – A man who claimed he was seeking the "portal to hell" repeatedly stabbed two women early Friday after they noticed misplaced items in their backyard and opened the door to a shed where he was staked out, law enforcement officials said.
A neighbor jumped a fence after hearing the women scream and hit their assailant, 25-year-old Morgan Mesz, in the head with a baseball bat, ending the attacks, authorities said. The two women were seriously hurt.
Mesz was charged with three counts of attempted murder and was being held on $1.5 million bail. Authorities did not know if Mesz had an attorney, and a phone number for him could not be found.
The stabbings occurred at around 6 a.m. after the two women, ages 50 and 53, let their dog outside. They noticed contents of their shed strewn across the lawn, according to the Union County prosecutor's office. The shed door, though, was closed.
Mesz, armed with a knife and hatchet, pounced on the pair after one woman opened the shed door, authorities said. Union Township Police Director Dan Zieser told the Star-Ledger of Newark that Mesz said he told them that he cleared out the shed as he sought the "portal to hell."
Neighbor Hernan Agudelo heard the attack and subdued Mesz. The 33-year-old Agudelo suffered several stab wounds and was treated at a hospital and released Friday, the prosecutor's office said. The dog was unharmed.
"This act of selflessness and bravery is commendable," Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said. "Without Mr. Agudelo's brave actions, this situation could have been much worse."
Both woman were in critical condition at University Hospital in Newark, the prosecutor's office said Friday night.
Mesz would be undergoing a psychological evaluation, authorities said.
Township authorities and the prosecutor's office were investigating the matter and awaiting results of a toxicology test.
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