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B.C. shooter who opened fire in Spences Bridge found not criminally responsible

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
The Canadian Press

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