Current Conditions

Mainly Clear
8.0°C

Man who killed children in Merritt struggles with anger management: psychiatrist

Allan Schoenborn is shown in this courtroom sketch during his trial in Kamloops on Thursday, October 8, 2009.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carl Doherty
May 24, 2017 - 9:00 PM

COQUITLAM, B.C. - A man found not criminally responsible for killing his three children because of a mental disorder is making slow progress but still faces serious anger issues, a psychiatrist says.

Dr. Marcel Hediger told a British Columbia Review Board hearing Wednesday that it's unlikely he would recommend Allan Schoenborn be granted supervised outings in the next year, saying he would need to see the man better manage his anger and get help to cope with his emotions.

The board granted the director of a psychiatric hospital in Coquitlam, B.C., the discretion to allow Schoenborn escorted outings into the community two years ago, but he still hasn't been allowed to leave.

"Mr. Schoenborn quite consistently doesn't feel he has a significant anger-management issue," Hediger told the three-person panel.

"He does say he has a short fuse, but that is the extent to which Mr. Schoenborn acknowledges he has a significant management issue."

Hediger said he believes anger played a role when Schoenborn stabbed his 10-year-old daughter Kaitlynne and smothered his sons Max and Cordon, eight and five, at the family's home in Merritt in April 2008. Schoenborn has repeatedly denied that anger factored into the killings, Hediger added.

Crown attorney Wendy Dawson said she wants the hospital director's authority to allow escorted outings revoked, arguing Schoenborn poses too much of a risk.

She said Schoenborn's anger issues are entrenched and that any earlier progress was a ploy to earn privileges from the review board, which she referred to as "impression management."

Dawson said Schoenborn had gone through nearly three years of cumulative counselling for anger management and he still struggles with applying his lessons in the heat of the moment.

Schoenborn attended the review hearing, wearing a collared, blue work shirt and torn jeans. He spent most of the time slowly rocking back and forth in his seat and staring into his lap.

Schoenborn interrupted with an unintelligible comment while Dawson was questioning Hediger about the night of the killings.

"Altruistic was found," Schoenborn said. "This has got to be said."

Barry Long, chairman of the review panel, told Schoenborn he would have his turn to object to what was being said.

Schoenborn apologized, agreeing with Long's suggestion everyone take a five-minute break.

Two years after the children were killed, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Schoenborn was not criminally responsible because he was experiencing psychosis and believed he was protecting his children from sexual abuse, though no evidence was heard suggesting they were being abused.

When the review board granted him escorted community outings, it said Schoenborn was diagnosed as having a delusional disorder, a substance abuse disorder and paranoid personality traits, but that his symptoms have been in remission for years.

The board said in its earlier written decision that Schoenborn has suffered "significant negative attention'' while in custody because of the notoriety of his offences including taunts, name-calling, threats and physical assault.

The Crown has also filed a separate court application to have Schoenborn designated a high-risk accused, which would end the possibility of the outings and extend the time between annual review hearings up to three years.

The former Conservative government used Schoenborn as an example in 2014 to introduce the new designation, which can be applied to people found not criminally responsible because of mental disorder.

Schoenborn's next appearance in that case is scheduled for mid-June in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

— Follow @gwomand on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

  • Popular kamloops News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile