Lawyers focus on mental state of man accused in Edmonton stabbing attack

Lawyers focus on mental state of stabbing suspect

EDMONTON — A jury is being urged to consider the mental state of a man accused of killing two co-workers and wounding four others in a bloody knife attack at a grocery warehouse.

Jayme Pasieka has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges, including first-degree murder and attempted murder, in the stabbings three years ago.

Defence lawyer Peter Royal said during closing arguments Thursday that jurors should have doubts about whether the Crown’s case meets the test of showing intent for first-degree murder. He suggested they could find Pasieka guilty of manslaughter.

Thierno Bah, 41, and Fitzroy Harris, 50, were killed in the attack.

Royal said the evidence shows Pasieka, 32, suffered from severe schizophrenia and that he told police he didn’t plan to kill and felt sad about what happened.

“This was a man going through a nervous breakdown,” Royal said. “Clearly Mr. Pasieka was severely disturbed at the time.”

Crown prosecutor Kim Goddard told the jury that Pasieka’s mental-health symptoms were mild and evidence shows he planned to end his own suffering by killing others.

Goddard said that on the day of the stabbings Pasieka wore a military-style vest, dressed all in black and left his Edmonton home with two knives. Before going to work, he went to a store at West Edmonton Mall to buy two extra knives and had a normal conversation with a clerk.

When Pasieka arrived at the Loblaws warehouse, he signed in for his shift and put on a sweatshirt to hide the weapons.

Goddard said Pasieka then walked slowly toward a group of co-workers before stabbing people multiple times, aiming for the chest and head.

“Why stab people in the head and chest if you don’t intend to kill them?” Goddard asked as some relatives of the victims quietly sobbed in court.

The prosecutor reminded the jury of the tape of a 911 call made by Pasieka during the stabbings and entered as evidence.

“‘Die. Die’ … That is what you hear on the 911 tape,” Goddard said. “How can it not be that he intends to kill?”

During the trial, Pasieka took the stand in his own defence. He testified that he had been seeing and hearing things in his head for years, including the voice of “the beast.”

He said he had given up on life and thought if he killed someone he would get the help he needed.

A forensic psychiatrist testified that Pasieka would have understood that inflicting severe injury on someone would have led to death. The psychiatrist also said Pasieka was capable of exercising free will and making choices.

Several of the stabbing victims who testified gave different views about Pasieka’s behaviour.

Mahmoud Ayesh described Pasieka as angry and calculated, but not out of control. Others said that, throughout the attack, Pasieka was either yelling or speaking.

“He said he hates us,” testified Axamed Mektar.

Several testified no one at the warehouse had previous problems with the accused.

Justice Donna Shelley was to give her charge to the jury on Thursday afternoon.

John Cotter, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Just Posted

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

The administrative headquarters for the Central Okanagan Public Schools. (File photo)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at 2 Central Okanagan Schools

The infected individuals are self-isolating at home

Farming Karma is set to release a line of fruit vodka sodas soon. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna fruit growers expanding line of beverages

Farming Karma is expanding from fruit sodas to fruit vodka sodas

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read