December 23, 2014 - 1:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - A man who opened fire in a small town in B.C.'s Interior, shooting a man in the face won't be held criminally responsible.
Eric Nelson of Spences Bridge, B.C., was charged with a dozen counts including attempted murder after a series of violent incidents in May 2013.
Court heard that Nelson opened fire on a home in Spences Bridge, hitting a man in the face.
A couple days later he got into an argument with another motorist on a rural highway and threw a boulder at the vehicle, which had two people inside.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves said he was satisfied Nelson was not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.
His defence lawyer said Nelson was in the throes of a manic episode and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after the incidents.
"He was under a variety of grandiose and, at times, paranoid delusions," said Micah Rankin, who described his client as a "back-to-the-earth hippie type."
After shooting up the Spences Bridge home on May 15, 2013, Nelson met with his son in nearby Lytton the next day and boasted about having shot a pedophile in the face, court heard.
On May 17, 2013, Nelson threw a boulder at a vehicle and then asked the driver to follow him home, which he did. Once there, Nelson demanded the driver’s shotgun, potatoes and money.
He then asked to be driven to a friend's house, where he told his friend he was in a manic state.
Nelson, 53, was arrested the following day. In custody, he began rambling to police about politics and a conspiracy involving the NDP. He was released after meeting with a doctor.
He was arrested again six days later after stealing a truck and driving it into the bush.
Four of the charges Nelson was facing — assault, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and possession of stolen property — were stayed before he was found not criminally responsible.
Nelson's file will now be handed over to the B.C. Review Board, which will monitor his mental state on a regular basis.
Nelson is not in custody.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014