Psychiatric patient faces sentencing for setting fires at hospital

Sentencing will be held in October for a psychiatric patient who has admitted to setting two different fires at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre as well as stealing a farm truck.

Sentencing will be held in October for a psychiatric patient who has admitted to setting two different fires at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre as well as stealing a farm truck.

Lacombe resident Layton Wyatt, 18, pleaded guilty to all three charges before Judge Gordon Yake in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday.

Sentencing was postponed, however, when Yake announced that he would like to see additional psychiatric assessment and a pre-sentence report beforehand.

Reading the facts for the court, Crown prosecutor Tony Bell said Wyatt was first arrested on March 8, 2013, after taking a Scholing’s Produce truck that had been parked with the keys inside in the company yard, north of Lacombe. Bell said Wyatt drove the truck into Red Deer, sold some tools that had been in the cab, and then returned it, undamaged, to the yard.

Bell said Wyatt was a psychiatric patient under high observation on Unit 36 in the Red Deer Regional Hospital when he set the first of two fires, requiring an evacuation and causing $200,000 in damage to the unit on March 20.

He was in a different unit on April 24, when he borrowed a lighter from another patient.

A nurse on Unit 34 became suspicious and went into his room, finding six small fires on his mattress, said Bell. The fires were quickly extinguished with minimal damage to the unit.

Charged in June with one count of theft over $5,000 and two counts of arson, Wyatt was arrested and placed in Alberta Hospital, Edmonton for a psychiatric assessment.

In court on Tuesday, Yake said he had read the assessments, which addressed whether Wyatt was mentally fit to stand trial.

Noting that the young man has a “significant” mental disorder, Yake said he would like to see further assessment along with a pre-sentence report.

He denied defence counsel Alexandra Seaman’s application to have Wyatt released to his mother’s care pending the sentence hearing, tentatively set for Oct. 28.

Yake acknowledged her comments that, because of his mental state, Wyatt is unable to cope with conditions in the Edmonton Remand Centre.

Yake said he considers Wyatt to be a danger to the public and that he is not convinced that his mother would be able to supervise adequately.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com