Man who fatally stabbed a stranger is criminally responsible: Judge

A man who fatally stabbed a stranger on Stanley Park Seawall has lost a bid to have himself declared not criminally responsible.

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A man who admitted to stabbing a stranger to death on the Stanley Park sea wall has lost a bid to have a judge declare him criminally liable for a mental illness.

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Tyler Anthony Lagimodiere was initially charged with first-degree murder in connection with the murder of Lubomir Kunik, 61, in February 2017.

In December 2019, Lagimodiere pleaded guilty to the minor offense of second-degree murder, but when the sentencing began in July 2020, he set up a stage in court and announced that he wanted to withdraw his plea.

After he got a change of lawyer, he applied for the right to declare him not criminally liable.

The defensive position was that Lagimodiere was suffering from schizophrenia at the time, and although the mental illness did not make him unable to appreciate the nature and quality of his actions, it meant that he did not have the capacity to know that the killing was wrong.

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The Crown argued that the application could not succeed because there was a lack of acceptable evidence in support of the finding of incapacity and the expert evidence in support of the application was unreliable.

Two psychiatrists – one for the defense and one for the crown – testified in court and came to different conclusions.

In her verdict Friday, BC Supreme Court Justice Laura Gerow accepted that Lagimodiere was suffering from a mental illness at the time of the violation, but found that it was probably not schizophrenia. The judge also concluded that the mental disorder, including Lagimodiere with auditory hallucinations, did not render him unable to appreciate the nature and quality of his actions.

As to the question of whether he knew his actions were morally wrong, the judge noted that the only permissible evidence of the motive for the murder came from the perpetrator’s confession to undercover police officers. Lagimodiere had told undercover police that he had killed Kunik, a West End resident and amateur photographer, because he was tired of hearing the voices in his head saying he was going to insult children. He wanted to make an “example” of the votes, but the votes told him not to commit the murder, he told police.

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Asked by an undercover police officer to describe how he chose the victim, he said he was not looking for anyone in particular and the victim could have been anyone but a woman or a child.

On the day of the killing, Lagimodiere told undercover officers he grabbed a machete and hid it in his pants and went to a path in the park to wait for someone. He attacked Kunik from behind, and as Kunik began to fight back, Lagimodiere fell over the sea wall. When Kunik also fell over the sea wall, Lagimodiere stabbed him repeatedly until the victim stopped breathing.

“In my view, it appears from his conduct before, during and after the killing that the mental illness suffered by Mr Lagimodiere at the time of the offense did not deprive him of his ability to know that members of society would consider his act of killing someone was wrong, ”the judge said.

The verdict will come at a later date.

kfraser@postmedia.com

twitter.com/keithrfraser

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