Defence tells court BC dad was living psychotic reality when he killed kids

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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KAMLOOPS, B.C. - A B.C. father who admitted killing his three children in gruesome testimony at his trial should not be found guilty of murder, his lawyer said Thursday in his final arguments to the court.
Allan Schoenborn shouldn't be found criminally responsible because he was living a psychotic reality in which he believed it morally right to take their lives in order to save them, argued lawyer Peter Wilson.
Overwhelming evidence suggests Schoenborn killed the young children in the throes of an unravelling mental state, Wilson said.
"He saw reality on an entirely different plane that the rest of us," Wilson told the judge who is hearing the case alone, without a jury.
"The reality he saw was his children were at great risk, that they were destined to suffer a fate worse than death and he had no option but to kill them."
Wilson said Schoenborn had delusions that the children were being molested - the culmination of two decades of mental illness.
Schoenborn is on trial for first-degree murder in the deaths of 10-year-old Kaitlynne, eight-year-old Max and five-year-old Cordon.
Their bodies were found in their Merritt, B.C., home in April 2008 by their mother.
There's been no evidence presented at the trial that the children were, indeed, being sexually molested. But Wilson argued his client wasn't able to understand that killing the children was wrong and he was acting out of altruism, in the belief that they were being victimized and that ending their lives was the only way to stop it.
Schoenborn described in grisly detail in his own testimony stabbing his daughter to death and then smothering his young sons. He said he felt they were being molested and had only a life of suffering ahead of them.
Wilson cited the testimony of two psychiatrists as evidence Schoenborn, who's never been professionally diagnosed with a mental illness, suffers from a major disorder.
Dr. Roy O'Shaughnessy told the court that he felt the killings were influenced by mental illness.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe, however, said that while he agreed the man suffered from illness, it was also possible he killed out of anger towards his estranged wife.
The Crown has said the killings were an act of revenge toward the children's mother, who had severed her 15-year relationship with Schoenborn.
Wilson refuted the Crown theory in his closing remarks to the court, saying there wasn't supporting evidence.
Filicide is usually perpetrated by someone with mental disorder, he added.
The Crown has yet to present their final arguments in the trial that began last October. The trial was expected to last four weeks but stretched for more than four months.
If convicted of first-degree murder, the 41-year-old former Vancouver roofer faces life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years.
He had been in custody since he was found, emaciated, hypothermic and with self-inflicted wounds to his arms, in the woods near the community of Merritt following after a 10-day manhunt.

Geographic location: KAMLOOPS, Merritt, Vancouver

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