Colin John found not criminally responsible in 2016 Descoteau murder
Angry response in the Duncan courtroom after the decision
A sombre group after the Colin John decision in the murder of Derek Descoteau. From left: Paula Phillips, Kristina Tkachuk, Brenda Smith, Janelle Guyatt and Leah Guyatt outside the Duncan courthouse.
Mar. 20, 2023
Nearly seven years after the death of Derek Descoteau in Chemainus, the man who previously pled guilty to killing him has been found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder.
The determination on Colin John was announced by Justice Lisa Warren in BC Supreme Court Tuesday in Duncan after a statement that took 2 1/2 hours to read, explaining all aspects of the decision.
There was an angry response from the crowd in the courtroom at the end. Many of those gathered to hear the decision immediately stormed out when the decision became known.
“We’re really upset,” said Descoteau’s mother Brenda Smith. “This is not the outcome we wanted. Today, we wanted justice.”
Descoteau and Guyatt family members feared all along this might be the outcome. “You can prepare all you want for it, but when it happens it’s like a freight train,” said Kristina Tkachuk, Descoteau’s aunt.
The murder in May of 2016 shocked Chemainus. Descoteau was at his father’s place along with girlfriend Guyatt when John came to the basement suite entrance and started stabbing. He had initially attempted to shoot Descoteau, but the gun didn’t discharge and he used a knife instead.
Descoteau, 20 at the time, eventually collapsed in the front yard and later died of his injuries. Guyatt endured numerous stab wounds that required several surgeries over the years.
Warren relied heavily on the testimonies of Dr. Andrew Kolchak and Dr. Santoch Rai in making her determinations.
“Mr. John’s response was irrational,” she concluded. “His claim that he didn’t think what he did is wrong is also irrational.
“No reality-based motive arises out of the evidence,” she added.
John has spent time at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre and primarily at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam over the years. He will remain at FPH, Warren pointed out, for an indeterminate time.
The defence made an application that John was suffering from a mental disorder in May of last year and a hearing commenced in October that went into the early part of 2023 before Warren made her final findings public Tuesday.
The families feel the five-minute stabbing spree that has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and cost the victims personally should create outrage among the public.