Killers in Canada who claimed they were mentally ill, not criminally responsible

Published on February 6, 2017

Vincent Li, now known as Will Baker, stabbed and beheaded a young man sleeping next to him on a Greyhound Bus in Manitoba in 2008. He said he heard the voice of God telling him that Tim McLean was an alien whom he needed to destroy. Li was found not criminally responsible on the grounds he suffered from schizophrenia and was sent to a mental health centre. He is to appear for his annual mental health review Monday.

Here are some other high-profile cases in which a similar finding of not criminally responsible was sought in court:

Gregory Despres: Fatally stabbed two elderly neighbours in Minto, N.B., in 2005 and decapitated one of them. Despres, a naturalized U.S. citizen, had crossed the border despite guards finding him with a small arsenal including a chainsaw, a sword and brass knuckles. He told them he was an assassin on a military mission. Three psychiatrists diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia. He was found not criminally responsible in 2008.

Elaine Campione: Drowned her daughters, who were three and 19 months, in a bathtub in 2006 during a custody battle with her ex-husband. Doctors diagnosed the Barrie, Ont., woman with unspecified psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder from spousal abuse, depression and an eating disorder. The Crown successfully argued her mental illness didn't prevent her from knowing right from wrong. Campione was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

Glen Race: Killed two Halifax men, Trevor Brewster and Paul Michael Knott, in 2007. Race suffered from schizophrenia and was not taking his medicine at the time. Court was told Race believed he was a vampire slayer and a god-like entity. He was found not criminally responsible, based on a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence.

Allan Schoenborn: Killed his three children — who were 10, eight and five — in Merritt, B.C., in 2008. Schoenborn was diagnosed with delusional disorder and said he killed the children to protect them from an imagined threat of sexual abuse. He was found not criminally responsible and is in a psychiatric hospital in Port Coquitlam. He has been granted escorted day passes from the facility but now faces an application from the Crown to have him designated a "high-risk accused,'' which would force him to wait longer to ask for more freedom.

Francis Proulx: Shot Nancy Michaud, an aide to a Quebec cabinet minister, in the head after taking her hostage while her two children slept in 2008. He took credit cards and banking information and had sex with her corpse. During his trial, he argued he was not criminally responsible because of a mental issue, saying he was on medication at the time of the crime. But he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Guy Turcotte: Fatally stabbed his three-year-old daughter and five-year-old son in 2009. The Quebec cardiologist was found not criminally responsible and was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Montreal and released in December 2012. An appeal court then overturned the verdict. In 2015, Turcotte was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.

Miloslav Kapsik: Bludgeoned his wife to death with a hammer, hitting her more than 100 times while they were watching a hockey game in 2010. Court was told he had been hearing voices. Medical records showed the Winnipeg man was first diagnosed with severe depression in 2003. The defence's attempt to argue he was not criminally responsible was unsuccessful. He was sentenced to life for second-degree murder, with no eligibility for parole for 10 years.

Richard Kachkar: Stole a snow plow in 2011 and, during a two-hour rampage, struck and killed Toronto police Sgt. Ryan Russell. Witnesses heard Kachkar yell about the Taliban, Chinese technology and microchips. He was found not criminally responsible and sent to a secure unit of a mental health hospital near Toronto. In 2015, he lost his bid for unescorted passes into the community, but was granted a move out of the secure unit of his hospital as well as accompanied visits of up to 10 hours.

Luka Rocco Magnotta: Killed and dismembered Chinese exchange student Jun Lin in 2012. Experts testified Magnotta is schizophrenic and was psychotic and out of touch with reality the night of the slaying. Prosecutor Louis Bouthillier said Magnotta had made a promise several months earlier to take the life of a human being. Magnotta was found guilty of first-degree murder.

Trevor Kloschinsky: Killed Alberta peace officer Rod Lazenby, who had come to his rural property in 2012 to investigate a dog complaint. Kloschinsky was charged with first-degree murder but found not criminally responsible. Queen's Bench Justice Beth Hughes ruled Kloschinsky's delusional thinking prevented him from realizing what he was doing was wrong.

Matthew de Grood: De Grood, the son of a Calgary police office, fatally stabbed five young people at a house party in 2014. Court was told that he heard the voice of the devil telling him to kill and believed the end of the world was coming. Psychiatric experts testified he did not appreciate his actions were morally wrong. In 2016, the Alberta Review Board determined he should be kept in a secure psychiatric facility pending a review in another year.

The Canadian Press