01/29/2013 07:34 EST | Updated 03/31/2013 05:12 EDT

B.C. Axe Murderer Who Killed His Mother 'Psychotic'

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A three-day hearing began in Victoria Tuesday to determine if a 21-year-old Sooke, B.C., man should be found criminally responsible for killing his mother with an axe last year.

Alex Conte was charged with second-degree murder for brutally attacking his mother Sarah Nickerson, 53, at their home in Sooke, almost one year ago.

On Tuesday, his defence team told a B.C. Supreme Court judge that Conte should not be convicted of his mother's murder because he suffers from a severe psychiatric illness.

Two psychiatrists have testified they believe Conte was in a psychotic state when he hacked his mother to death with an axe, then dismembered her body.

They say Conte told them he believed an evil personality, an imaginary brother, had entered his mother's body.

The doctors say Conte's mental state is starting to stabilize after months of drug therapy at the Forensic Psychiatric Institute in Port Coquitlam.

But they said he has flashbacks about the gruesome scene and begs psychiatric nurses to sedate him.

The psychiatrists believe Conte should remain at the psychiatric hospital instead of jail, but that will be up to the judge to decide.

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