VERNON, B.C. - A 95-year-old dementia patient who's been charged with murdering his roommate will undergo a psychiatric assessment before his next court appearance in September.
But the Crown lawyer in the case said that there is no wish to put John Furman behind bars.
"We're certainly not interested in incarcerating this gentleman, who I understand is a decorated war veteran and otherwise excellent citizen up until he got this Alzheimer's disease," Crown lawyer Howard Pontious said Wednesday outside provincial court.
He said authorities had little choice but to charge Furman with murder, but considering the circumstances he thinks it's unlikely the charge will proceed.
"In every other case I've been involved in for 36 years there's usually a level of culpability (that's) obvious," Pontious said. "In this case it's pretty obvious that there's virtually no culpability because there's no capability of forming a malicious intent as far as I can tell. But I can't actually say that until I get the report."
Furman was charged with murder after his 85-year-old roommate was killed.
RCMP have said police received a report of an assault Sunday night at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital's residential care facility.
Pontious said the psychiatric review will determine whether Furman is not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.
"They could address the main issue in this case, which is the risk that he poses to other people."
Furman was not in court for the hearing Wednesday, but his lawyer appeared on his behalf.
He will return to court on Sept. 25. (CKIZ)
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled the name Pontious.