Accused B.C. killer thought victim was a zombie

Thought victim was zombie

A B.C. man charged with second-degree murder in a 2022 Nanaimo stabbing has been found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

James Carey Turok, 30, was charged in the Feb. 12, 2022 death of Eric Kutzner, 79.

“I find that Mr. Turok’s mental disorder made him incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of his actions because his psychosis caused him to believe that Mr. Kutzner was not human,” B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said. “Under that delusional belief, Mr. Turok could not appreciate that he was killing a person."

In her newly released March 27 decision, Holmes said Kutzner arrived at the Buzz Coffee House in Nanaimo, to prepare for its 9 a.m. opening. His daughter owned the business and he often helped out.

While Kutzner was preparing baked goods, Turok let himself in through the door and stabbed Kutzner 12 times in the face, neck, chest and back, causing his death.

Co-workers arrived soon after and found the door locked, unusual as Kutzner would leave it open for other employees to enter.

“Peering inside, they saw Mr. Kutzner’s blood-soaked legs, and Mr. Turok walking around, dripping blood,” Holmes said.

When police arrived, they found Turok hiding under a desk.

“Mr. Turok resisted arrest and made bizarre and often incomprehensible statements, including statements hostile to Mr. Kutzner, such as that he was a zombie,” Holmes said. “Throughout his further dealings with police and with medical and psychiatric personnel, as well as during some of his early court appearances, he continued to make similar and other irrational statements.”

In admissions made to the court in an agreed statement of facts, Turok acknowledge killing Kutzner, Holmes said.

Holmes said Turok had a history of mental health issues dating back at least a decade, including hospitalizations under the Mental Health Act.

“He has been diagnosed at various times with either schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type) or schizophrenia,” she said.

Two psychiatrists testified in the case. One said Turok’s mental disorder removed his ability to understand the wrongfulness of his actions. The other said Turok could not understand that his actions were morally wrong.

“When he killed Mr. Kutzner, Mr. Turok was suffering from a mental disorder that made him incapable both of appreciating the nature and quality of his acts, and of knowing that they were wrong,” Holmes said.

She ordered the case referred to the B.C. Review Board for a disposition hearing within 90 days and that Turok be detained at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital pending that decision.

More BC News