A defence lawyer has asked a judge to declare Jordan Ramsay of North Vancouver not criminally responsible for murdering his father and severely injuring his mother, saying Ramsay was in a psychotic state when he violently attacked his parents on Nov. 5, 2011.
Defence lawyer Dan Sudeyko called forensic psychiatrist Dr. LeeAnne Meldrum to testify that Ramsay was delusional, off his medication and believed his parents were imposters when he went into their bedroom and bludgeoned the couple.
At the time of the attack, Ramsay was suffering from a severe mental disorder and believed his father was a supernatural entity who had to be killed using the tools in his fathers toolbox, said Meldrum.
At the time of the offence, Ramsay lacked the knowledge that his acts were morally wrong, she said.
Ramsay, 28, has a long history of schizophrenia. He had been prescribed an anti-psychotic drug but had dramatically cut down on the dose in the months leading up to the attack, believing that his mental illness could be managed by high does of vitamins, the psychiatrist said.
Just two days before the attack, a community mental health nurse who met with Ramsay and his mother in North Vancouver observed symptoms of major mental illness in Ramsay, said Meldrum. At the time, Ramsay was taking only one-eighth of the anti-psychotic drug risperidone that he had been prescribed.
Ramsays mother, Wendy Ramsay, told the nurse that she believed the family had been given permission to reduce the dose, saying that she wanted her son to take the vitamins instead, Meldrum testified.
But the psychiatrist said there were no indications any doctor had reduced the anti-psychotic medication. Ramsay had been certified under the Mental Health Act at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital just a few months prior and was still on an extended leave from that hospital when the family moved to North Vancouver.
Ramsay was to meet with a psychiatrist in North Vancouver on Nov. 7.
But in the early hours of Nov. 5, he attacked his parents inside the apartment the three family members shared on West 28th Street.
Police were called when a neighbour heard a woman screaming and dialed 9-1-1.
According to an agreed statement of facts entered in the case, when officers arrived, they found Jordan Ramsay standing in the bathroom holding a long metal ratchet wrench covered in blood. When he refused to respond to their commands, the officers Tasered and pepper-sprayed him, which had little effect. They eventually managed to handcuff him.
Police found Wendy Ramsay unconscious and covered in blood in one of the bedrooms with a hammer nearby. Her face had been smashed, resulting in multiple fractures and damage to her eye and ear. Don Ramsay, Jordans father, was found slumped over the bed with his head on the floor in a pool of blood. He died from being hit in the head multiple times with a heavy blunt object.
When Jordan Ramsay was asked later at Lions Gate Hospital if he understood he was being arrested for murder he said, No. I just got out of bed to get a drink of water then woke up like this.
When asked if he wanted to call a lawyer, he said, Im just a kid.
Meldrum said police officers who arrested Ramsay described him as answering questions in a robotic fashion, not making sense and asking officers to kill him.
Ramsays mother also told the psychiatrist that Ramsay had been having delusions on the night before the attack, hallucinating people who werent present and not recognizing who she was.
Ramsay first showed signs of schizophrenia in 2000, when he was just 16.
Doctors had been able to stabilize his condition with relatively high doses of anti-psychotic medication, said Meldrum. But when the dosage was reduced, his condition deteriorated rapidly and he was taken to the hospital emergency ward several times with psychotic symptoms.
During one of those hospitalizations in Saskatchewan, just before the family moved to B.C., Ramsay told a doctor there he was taking Truehope vitamins instead of medication.
After the family moved to Vancouver Island and Ramsay was once again admitted to hospital, he was put on a dose of four milligrams of risperidone. But by the time the family moved again, to North Vancouver, he was taking far less than that.
In the days before he killed his parents, Ramsay was experiencing rapidly escalating delusions, said Meldrum.
Meldrum said although he has improved at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital where he has been held since his release from hospital, Ramsay remains quite ill and needs to be in a secure facility.
Justice Deborah Kloegman of the B.C. Supreme Court is expected to rule tomorrow on whether Ramsay should be found not criminally responsible for his actions.
Decisions about his eventual release would then rest with a psychiatric review board.
Outside the court, Marguerite Hardin, a support coordinator with the North Shore Schizophrenia Society, said its very unfortunate that Ramsay and his parents decided to lower his medication. Some vitamin companies specifically market their products as an alternative to anti-psychotic medication, she said. But the general consensus in the medical community is you need the anti-psychotics.
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