"Poor intellectual development... lack of moral judgement... and moral fibre" are some of the reasons a forensic psychiatrist believes a youth killed four and injured seven injured seven in La Loche on January 22, 2016.
A Meadow Lake courtroom heard today from defence witness Dr. Mansfield Mela, who diagnosed the youth with various disorders. These included: intellectual developmental disorder; conduct disorder (where a person exhibits no concern for the safety of others and regularly breaks rules); major depressive disorder; cannabis use disorder; and parent-child relationship problems.
He also said the youth suffers from PTSD, which came after the shooting occurred, specifically in reference to having killed Dayne and Drayden Fontaine. The youth pleaded guilty to their second degree murders in October 2016, as well as the first degree murders of teacher Adam Wood and teacher’s aide Marie Janvier.
Because the teen was 17-years-old at the time of the crime, he cannot be identified. The court hearings will eventually help Judge Janet McIvor decide if the shooter – who is now 19-years-old – will be sentenced as a youth or an adult.
Mela also said that because of these disorders "the youth has an impressionistic mind that could have been influenced by consuming violent media like video games and videos of other shootings." He also said he believes due to his low intellectual functioning, the youth would recover more fully if he was admitted to the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon, because he would be less likely to be influenced by violence/assaults that could happen in a federal penitentiary.
During cross-examination from Crown prosecutor Lloyd Stang, Mela brought up the fact that the youth started to become more reclusive in 2013, would often feel angry if he felt bored, and felt that life wasn’t worth living. He said that believed that behaviours were indicative of the aforementioned major depressive disorder, and not from a typical teenager. Mela said as well that the teen was planning on killing himself after the shooting, even putting the gun to his head, but deciding not to shoot before surrendering to police.
Court also heard from the shooter’s aunt, who also cannot be identified as it would reveal details about the youth’s identity.
During her testimony to defence lawyer Aaron Fox, she mentioned that the youth was sick a lot as a baby, that he had no father, and that he would spend a lot of time in his room playing video games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty.
In his cross-examination, Stang asked about forgiveness. The shooter’s aunt stated that the family is religious, and as such are taught to forgive the person, and it seemed that “something went wrong in his world to cause all this.” She also cited the fact that he wasn’t a violent person and didn’t have trouble with the law before the shooting incident.
Following court yesterday Fox said if the teen chooses to make a statement in court that would happen tomorrow. Another psychiatrist is also set to take the stand as a defence witness tomorrow.
A date for closing arguments has not yet been scheduled, and after court today, neither defence counsel nor Crown had any further comments for media.
On Twitter @ReporterKath
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