Police investigate the scene on Saturday, January 23, 2016 of a Friday shooting at a school in La Loche, Sask. A psychiatrist says a teenager who killed four people in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.Dr. Mansfield Mela is testifying in the teen’s defence at a sentencing hearing which will determine if the teen is sentenced as an adult or a youth. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

‘Poor moral judgment:’ Hearing told La Loche shooter has PTSD, suicidal thoughts

MEADOW LAKE, Sask. — A psychiatrist has testified that a teenager who gunned down four people in northern Saskatchewan has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks which have led to suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness.

Dr. Mansfield Mela also told court that the teen has an intellectual disability, major depressive disorder and displays signs of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Mela was testifying for the defence Thursday at a sentencing hearing to determine if the teen will be sentenced as an adult or a youth.

“He has poor reasoning, poor problem-solving and poor intellect,” Mela told the hearing being held in Meadow Lake, Sask.

He said the teen’s mental age at the time of the January 2016 shooting in La Loche was closer to that of a 12-year-old than a 17-year-old.

The teen killed brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine in a home before shooting up the high school where teacher Adam Wood and teacher’s aide Marie Janvier died. Seven others were hurt.

The teen — who cannot be named since he was just shy of his 18th birthday when the shooting occurred — pleaded guilty last fall to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.

Mela said he asked the teen during several interviews why he carried out the shooting, but did not get a specific answer.

“He consistently indicated that he wasn’t thinking. He did not know why he wanted to do what he did.”

Mela said most people’s “moral fibre would cause them to hold back.”

“He seemed not to be able to do that and decided that he was actually going to shoot up the school. It may have been that he was at that point becoming more depressed,” Mela said.

“This is my own explanation, that a combination of a foundation of intellectual deficit, inability to reason through his actions, poor moral judgment and social judgment … (led to) that decision without thinking about the consequences.”

Child psychiatrist Dr. Declan Quinn testified for the Crown this week and said the teen “did not come across as being clearly developmentally delayed or slow.”

However, the teen described himself as “quite unhappy and quite depressed and very anxious,” Quinn said.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Katelyn Harker also testified for the Crown and said the teen told her that he was thinking about shooting up the school for six months. But he didn’t tell her why.

Harker said she believes the teen has some cognitive limitations, but no disorder.

The teen’s lawyer, Aaron Fox, has asked court for a Gladue report, which examines an indigenous offender’s background for the judge to use in making a sentencing decision.

Fox said Wednesday some of the information about the youth’s background that has come out raises important questions that need to be answered.

Crown prosecutor Lloyd Stang did not oppose the request for the report, but questioned the timing. He said the report could have been ordered sooner.

Just Posted

Accused murderer’s story questioned

Jason Klaus spends day being cross-examined by lawyer for co-accused Joshua Frank

Red Deer Royals extend fundraising deadline for St. Joseph fieldhouse project

Fundraising chair says it’s a tough slog raising money in this economy

Red Deer seeks public input on coming changes to sign bylaw

A half-kilometre buffer zone could separate billboards in Red Deer under proposed… Continue reading

Innisfail man injured in home invasion

Police say the injury was non life-threatening

Credentials questioned man at Remembrance Day services

Veterans are crying foul after an alleged faker posed as a former… Continue reading

VIDEO: Red Deerians taste what the city has to offer

Red Deerians sampled some of the finest foods Central Alberta restaurants have… Continue reading

Volunteer with victim services in Red Deer

Learn more at info session on Nov. 27

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Women were reported missing earlier this week

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month