Graphic warning: The following details may disturb some readers.
A Stettler man is not criminally responsible for murdering his father in January 2020, a Red Deer judge has ruled.
Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Bruce Miller made the ruling following a trial that wrapped up earlier this month.
Defence lawyer Patty MacNaughton said Nicholas Johnson admitted to killing his father, Barry Johnson, 67, but she argued he should not be held criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.
Court heard that Nicholas’s mother returned home from work to find her son sitting at the kitchen table with cut and bleeding hands. She found her husband’s body under a sheet in the basement.
An autopsy showed he had been stabbed 27 times.
In an agreed statement of facts, Nicholas said he took what he called a “sword of truth” from the kitchen and attacked his father, stabbing him a number of times.
Nicholas also hit his father with a clothes iron and a large rock.
A forensic psychiatrist who assessed Johnson said he was mentally ill and believed he was battling Satan when he was attacking his father.
“His mental disorder rendered him incapable of appreciating what he was doing was wrong,” said Dr. David Tano.
“He could appreciate it was criminally illegal and not right. However, morally it was a battle for him.”
She called 911 and when police arrived minutes later they found Nicholas at the kitchen table “staring blankly.”