Mark Damien Lindsay’s parents provided insight into the “progressive increase of paranoid delusions” that led him to believe he had to kill Dana Turner.
John Angus Lindsay and Louise Frances Lindsay both took the stand for the defence on Thursday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s bench.
Mark, 29, is accused of murdering Turner. Though the murder is admitted, the main trial issue is whether Mark was criminally responsible or not.
John, a retired former Edmonton Police Chief, went through a several-year period where Mark would bring up his fear of being hunted by a group of serial killers. Mark referred to this group as “Healers.”
On the stand, John said he noticed a “progressive increase of paranoid delusions,” in his adopted son.
As far back in 2007, John described these delusions as manifestations of Mark’s fear. Mark believed the Healers wanted to kill him because they believed Mark had sexually assaulted an older woman.
John described several events between 2007 and 2011 when Mark would share his fear about the Healers to them. John said Mark would become fearful about what he believed was people talking about him and broadcasts on radio and TV, telling people to kill Mark.
Mark’s mother provided background on the struggles he had growing up. Adopted two weeks after his birth, Louise said they were told his biological mother smoked and drank during the pregnancy and the father used marijuana.
When Mark was 10, his parents caught him snorting Ritalin. At 11, Mark started experimenting with alcohol and by the time he was 14, Mark used marijuana.
In 2008 and 2009, Mark first mentioned the plot to kill him to his parents. He told them a group of people were going to kill him as they believed he had assaulted a woman.
Louise said they didn’t believe him and spent time trying to calm him down.
Over the next few years, these beliefs increased and was seen as paranoid by his parents.
Louise said at one point she was shopping at a specialty store with Mark when she said Mark described hearing voices. He said a man in the store was speaking poorly of him. Louise said the man wasn’t speaking at all and tried to calm Mark down. Mark was so distraught, the two had to leave the store.
During a visit to the family home, Mark told his parents “the plot to kill me is coming soon.”
Mark showed emotion for the first time at trial listening to his mother’s testimony. He wept as she described her and her husband trying to calm him down when talking about the plot to kill him. Mark had previously sat quietly sometimes with eyes closed, leaning the back of his head against the wall of the prisoner’s box.
By the time he was in junior high, Mark was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, oppositional defiance and attachment disorder.
On March 21, 2011, Mark barricaded himself into his apartment on Whyte Avenue. Edmonton Police responded with a mental health worker. Mark was taken to Grey Nun’s Hospital and assessed for three weeks before being released, readmitted and then sent to Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. He was released from there in mid-May.
On Aug. 12, 2011, John received a phone call from the Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre saying Mark had been released. The Lindsay’s weren’t given many details about the attack on Turner that put Mark away and Mark refused to let his lawyer talk with them.
Mark served a 50-day sentence for stabbing Turner in the head.
Mark is accused of killing Turner shortly after his release.
John recounted a few “distressing” visits with Mark shortly after his release. They had brunch one morning as a family and had arranged to go for a walk a few days later.
Mark killed Turner by stabbing her in the eye with a pencil, strangling her and then running over her head with a car after his release in August 2011. Turner was reported missing on Aug. 16 and last seen alive on Aug. 14, 2011. Police said Turner was last seen driving a rental vehicle.
On Aug. 15, 2011, Mark arrived at his parent’s condo in a vehicle. John said this was distressing as Mark did not have his full licence and did not own a car. John said it may have been a rental vehicle.
John called it a distressing encounter that ended when Mark abruptly said goodbye and walked away.
John wouldn’t see his son again until after his first court appearance in March on the charge of murdering Turner.
The trial resumes today with further defence witness testimony. The Crown closed their case, but they’re expected to call rebuttal evidence when the defence closes their case.