EDMONTON — A mentally ill man who is accused of killing two co-workers and wounding four others at a grocery warehouse says he attacked the men to get help.
Jayme Pasieka has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges including first-degree murder and attempted murder in the stabbings. He took the stand in his own defence Wednesday.
Pasieka, 32, testified before a jury in a calm, quiet voice that he had suffered a nervous breakdown and had given up on life when, armed with four knives, he walked into a Loblaws warehouse in Edmonton on Feb. 28, 2014.
"I didn't know how to get the help that I needed," he said. "I understood it was wrong."
Under cross-examination by the Crown, Pasieka said he was angry at his co-workers, but made no distinction between them when he started randomly stabbing people.
"It was about stabbing someone and getting caught," he said.
Crown prosecutor Kim Goddard asked Pasieka if he had a goal in mind when he walked into the warehouse. He was dressed in black and wore a military-style vest.
"You went there to kill people to get help?'' she asked.
"Yes,'' he replied.
"I didn't know how to get the help that I needed."
Pasieka testified that he had been seeing and hearing things in his head for years, including the voice of the devil.
On Tuesday, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Roger Brown testified that Pasieka most likely was suffering from schizophrenia.
Defence lawyer Peter Royal asked Brown what effect the mental illness would have had on Pasieka's ability to form the intent to kill. Brown replied that the accused would have understood that inflicting severe injury on someone would have led to their death.
He said Pasieka was capable of exercising free will and making choices.
Police detectives walk out with witnesses as they investigate the scene where two people are dead and four people in hospital after a stabbing at a Loblaws warehouse in Edmonton, Feb. 28, 2014. (Photo: Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)
The psychiatrist said he was not able to come to a clear conclusion on the motive for the stabbings.
Thierno Bah, 41, and Fitzroy Harris, 50, were killed in the attack.
Several co-workers testified earlier at the trial, including one who said he was stabbed multiple times. Mahmoud Ayesh described Pasieka as angry, but calculated. It didn't seem like he was out of control, Ayesh added.
Others said that throughout the attack, Pasieka was either yelling or speaking.
"He said he hates us," testified Axamed Mektar, who was also stabbed.
Several testified no one at the warehouse had previous problems with the accused.
Pasieka testified that after the stabbings, he walked to his SUV and drove to a liquor store. He was drinking wine in his vehicle when police arrested him.
Court has previously heard that Pasieka bought two of the knives at an army surplus store on the day the men were stabbed. He testified that he needed the extra knives in case the other two became dull.
The Crown and defence are to present final arguments in the case on Thursday.
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