Man found not criminally responsible in death of mother
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2012 6:03PM EST Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2012 7:36PM EST
Nearly one year ago, a 22-year-old Toronto-area man killed his mother.
On Tuesday, in a Newmarket courtroom, Andrew Roelink was found not criminally responsible for the crime because he was psychotic when he stabbed Hilda Roelink in their King Township home.
It happened January 2, 2012.
Roelink had been seeking on-and-off treatment for unusual behaviour for nearly a year, beginning with his family doctor.
The youngest of five children, Roelink's parents allowed him to smoke and even grow marijuana in their home. He was admittedly dependent on the drug.
Over the Christmas holidays of 2011, his father would later recall, Roelink "was just not himself, like something's taken over him," Crown attorney Jennifer Gleitman told a Newmarket courtroom Tuesday.
Court heard that on Dec. 31, 2011, Roelink's erratic behaviour came to a head. He had been sending bizarre messages to friends on Facebook, hinting at suicide and making nonsensical statements about superpowers.
"Andrew told his father that his powers were set to expire that evening," Gleitman read from an agreed statement of facts.
When Hilda Roelink arrived at home, her son locked her outside. She called 911 expressing concern about his mental state.
"The (responding) officers described Andrew as agitated, his hands were sweating and his body was shaking," Gleitman said. "He appeared nervous and anxious and was not making any sense when he spoke."
Roelink was arrested under the Mental Health Act and taken to Southlake hospital in Newmarket for a psychiatric assessment.
In an emergency consult note, Dr. Stephen Stokl wrote: "This man is presenting with a psychosis not otherwise specified at this time, but one cannot rule out the strong influence of cannabis, and so we will make certain we get a urine toxicology on him as well as the Southlake drug screen and routine blood work."
Roelink spent the night in hospital and was released the next morning. He took a taxi home, where his family observed his behaviour as "odd," according to the agreed statement of facts.
"William Roelink (Andrew Roelink's father) reported that over dinner that night, Andrew asked his father for a hug," Gleitman said. "William gladly obliged. As they hugged, Andrew told his father, 'That's good -- now I'll transfer my power to you.' William recalled Andrew also saying something to the effect of, 'You kill me, and I'll kill you to get the power.'"
The next morning, on Jan. 2, Roelink called 911, explaining to the operator that, "My mom's kind of losing her mind a little bit." He said that she was acting irrationally, when in fact she was taking down Christmas decorations. Roelink ended the call shortly after, then called 911 again.
His second 911 call consisted of him hanging up on the operator several times, causing the operator to call back repeatedly. He would not let his mother take the phone.
"I am the only person in this house who's in the right state of mind," he told the operator.
Police arrived shortly after.
"As he had on the phone, Andrew told police that his mom was 'losing it' and going through the cupboards," Gleitman said. "William and Hilda apologized to the police for wasting their time, assuring them that everything was alright."
The officers left.
The final 911 call came at 7:36 p.m., again from Roelink, who claimed his mother was acting "nutty."
Roelink sounded calm at the beginning of the call, but as he came and went from the conversation, he seemed to become more agitated. Moments before police arrived, Roelink grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed his mother.
He is heard speaking the word "demon" around the time of the murder.
"After stabbing his mother, Andrew ran upstairs to his father and told him, 'You better come down...you have to stick with me now, our powers are together,'" Gleitman said.
In court on Tuesday, both the Crown and defence agreed that Roelink was in a psychotic state when he killed his mother and as such, he was not criminally responsible for the crime. However, doctors disagreed on what his diagnosis was. One doctor testified that he was within the spectrum of schizophrenia, while another said he suffered from cannabis-induced psychotic disorder.