01/31/2013 10:22 EST | Updated 04/02/2013 05:12 EDT

B.C. axe murderer's lawyer says killing was preventable

The lawyer of a Vancouver Island man who killed his mother with an axe believes it could have been prevented if more had been done to address his client’s dangerous psychotic state.

Alex Conte, 21, has been found not criminally responsible for murdering Sarah Nickerson, 53, at their home in Sooke last January.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Conte believed he was killing an evil spirit and not a human being.

Conte’s lawyer Bill Heflin says mental health professionals could have done more to prevent Nickerson’s death.

He says Conte talked to a psychiatrist about his violent delusions just two days before the killing.

"It was my view that this whole thing could have been avoided if something other than just 'Oh, just take some anti-psychotic meds and go home,' would have been done,” Heflin said.

Family friend Bernadette Boudreau says Conte’s father Tony is relieved his son will finally get the psychiatric help he needs.

"He has never wavered from the position that he's in — that not only is something good going to come out of this, but he's there for his son forever,” Boudreau said.

“He really feels strongly that Sarah is with them in this."

She says the family is hoping to move on.

"They are definitely trying to find the silver lining,” she said. “What they see coming out of here is that he's finally going to get the help that he needs."

Conte has been ordered to remain at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam until a review board decides he can be released.