The second-degree murder trial for Nicholas Climb Johnson continued in Red Deer provincial court on Thursday. (File photo by Advocate staff)

The second-degree murder trial for Nicholas Climb Johnson continued in Red Deer provincial court on Thursday. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Accused murderer’s delusion of Satan dismissed by Crown

Defence argues Stettler man not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder

Warning: This story contains graphic details

Whether or not a Stettler man killed his father because he believed Satan was inside his father was debated in a Red Deer courtroom on Thursday.

It was one of the issues discussed by defence and Crown who presented their closing arguments during the second-degree murder trial for Nicholas Climb Johnson who was accused of stabbing to death his father Barry Douglas Johnson, 67, in his Stettler home in January 2020.

The defence has conceded that Johnson killed his father but is arguing that he should not be held criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

Crown prosecutor Bina Border said even the defence’s forensic psychiatrist Dr. David Tano said that the idea that Satan was in his father “came and went.”

“The evidence of delusion was unclear and unreliable,” Border said.

“The references to Satan are fleeting.”

In an agreed statement of facts, the court previously heard that Johnson attacked his father in the early morning of Jan. 15. He stabbed his father 27 times and hit him with a clothes iron and a large rock.

His mother discovered what he had done when she returned home in the early afternoon. Her husband’s body lay under a sheet in the basement.

Border said the accused initially said it was his father who came after him with a knife, then later talked about how he had enough of how his father was treating him.

Defence lawyer Patty McNaughton said Tano diagnosed Johnson with schizophrenia and concluded that Johnson did not have the capacity to make rational decisions.

She noted the Crown did not produce any rebuttal experts.

“I do not think (Tano’s) evidence was contradicted,” McNaughton said.

“Mr. Johnson had a mental disorder likely present at the time of the offence,” she said.


Mentally ill central Alberta man who killed father not criminally responsible: psychiatrist

Stettler man not criminally responsible for killing his father: defence lawyer

Border argued a large amount of medical records and observations used by Tano for his report and testimony were not put into evidence for the court which needs to be able to interpret the evidence for itself.

“The court must be able to review that which the expert relied on.”

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