August 05, 2015 - 12:40 PM
KAMLOOPS - The accused in Kamloops’ only murder of 2014 pleaded guilty to killing his ex-girlfriend but now a judge will have to decide whether to accept it after hearing the accused's belief he killed a 'demon' to protect himself.
Christopher Frank Butler, born 1973, pleaded guilty in Kamloops Supreme Court today, Aug. 5 after telling a judge he killed Deanne Wheeler, 26, to save his own life because “she became possessed before he ordered it out of (his) apartment."
Justice Keith Bracken will determine whether to strike the accused’s plea and order a trial, accept the plea and move to sentencing, or order another psychiatric assessment. A review of Butler’s mental state could yield a third option: Not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.
In June, Butler indicated his intent to plead guilty to second-degree murder after a psychiatrist deemed him fit to stand trial.
Crown Prosecutor Alex Janse read out several angry text messages Butler sent Wheeler after the two broke up in fall of 2014.
“I can be the ex-lover who snapped and went (to) jail” was one of those messages. Other texts ranged from bizarre comments, to accusations of infidelity and insults targeting her appearance and character.
Janse called Butler’s behaviour toward Wheeler “abusive and threatening.” She said he called Wheeler repeatedly, threatened to harm her new boyfriend and made many abusive comments in public and through online messaging. Janse said before the murder, Butler wrote ‘I love you’ all over a vehicle parked in front of Wheeler’s home where she lived with her parents. He would regularly attend the home to look for her, Janse said.
"Indications from friends and family (suggest) this was in the context of jealousy of her trying to move on with other men,” Janse said.
Butler, acting as his own lawyer, denied jealousy and said his actions were based on the belief Wheeler was possessed by evil spirits.
"She was possessed by demonic spirits. The eyes went solid black. I went right to the police station I informed them right away,” Butler calmly told Bracken. “I do wish to take responsibility. Deanne was a good person. In the same time I was a victim in this as well."
Janse acknowledged Butler contacted police and told them what he did to kill Wheeler. His confession to police and guilty plea mitigated the circumstances but Janse said the domestic relationship the two shared aggravated the case against Butler.
Janse said Butler convinced Wheeler to come over to his place on Dec. 30 last year under the guise of platonic friendship. Shortly after she arrived, Janse said Butler choked Wheeler with a wire before hitting her in the head with a rock and stabbing her seven times.
Butler then left the door to his Cherry Avenue apartment open and walked to the nearby North Shore RCMP detachment, carrying a bible. The mental health RCMP officer, nurse and Butler returned to the apartment later, Janse said.
Janse said Butler suffers from bipolar disorder and has a criminal record which shows a history of violence. In his court appearances, the accused who regularly wears a cross made several comments on religion and demons, gestured to the coat of arms and spanked himself before exiting the courtroom.
Several times throughout the hearing, Bracken asked Butler if he was aware of the consequences rising from a guilty plea. He reminded him of the law, that a second degree murder charge carries a life sentence in prison and a minimum of ten years before parole. Butler reiterated he wanted to plead guilty, but commented witchcraft was not a component of law.
Bracken reserved his decision for tomorrow, Aug. 6.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015