June 18th, 2024

Winnipeg murder trial hears killer hospitalized numerous times for mental health

By The Canadian Press on June 4, 2024.

Jeremy Skibicki is shown in this undated handout photo, taken by police while in custody, provided by the Court of King's Bench. An admitted serial killer's mental state is expected to be the focus of a Winnipeg murder trial after a judge approved to hear testimony from a forensic psychiatrist and YouTuber. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Court of King's Bench *MANDATORY CREDIT*

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg murder trial has heard an admitted serial killer has a history of mental illness, including depression and thoughts of suicide.

Court heard Jeremy Skibicki, who is 37, was first assessed in his early teens after his parents reported aggressive outbursts and an incident where Skibicki put his hands around his female cousin’s throat while sleepwalking.

Skibicki has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of four Indigenous women in Winnipeg in 2022.

His lawyers admit he killed the women but argue he should be found not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

Dr. Sohom Das, a forensic psychiatrist from England, said he assessed Skibicki twice since Skibicki’s arrest and studied his medical files and social media posts.

Das testified medical documents provided to him show Skibicki had been hospitalized numerous times where Skibicki reported paranoia, hearing voices and self-harm.

Skibicki is charged in the deaths of Rebecca Contois, 24; Morgan Harris, 39; Marcedes Myran, 26; and an unidentified woman an Indigenous grassroots community has named Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman.

Crown prosecutors have said the killings were racially motivated and Skibicki preyed on vulnerable victims at homeless shelters.

The trial has heard Skibicki assaulted his victims, strangled or drowned them and disposed of their bodies in garbage bins in his neighbourhood. Myran and Contois were dismembered.

The Crown has presented video, DNA, computer and witness evidence linking Skibicki to the victims to illustrate possible planning and coverup of the crimes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2024.

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