BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Man Who Opened Fire In Spences Bridge Found Not Criminally Responsible

12/23/2014 02:16 EST | Updated 02/22/2015 05:59 EST
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Historic Old Spences Bridge over the Thompson River in Spences Bridge, BC, Canada. Also known as the Rattlesnake Bridge. The bridge contains seven spans (five Warren deck truss spans and two girder spans)
KAMLOOPS, B.C. - 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. (Kamloops This Week)

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