Nicholas Osuteye, 36, was charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count each of assault and mischief after violently assaulting the women in the city's Downtown Eastside on the morning of Dec. 7, 2012.
He told police he "planned to hunt human beings like animals for the purpose of murdering as many human beings as possible" by beating, kicking and stamping on the women, aged 87, 79 and 63 years old.
Osuteye was arrested shortly after the attacks, wearing nothing but his underwear. He told police he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia but was not taking medication he had been prescribed.
Speaking outside court Monday, Osuteye's mother, Mercy, called for more support for the mentally ill and apologized to her son's victims, two of whom suffered brain damage.
"We're deeply sorry for what happened to the victims. We hope that they will heal and we hope that some day we'll be able to talk to them and support them," she said.
"We've tried to get the help we can for him. Unfortunately, it doesn't always happen."
Osuteye's lawyer, Patti Stark, said the courts are dealing with cases involving people with mental health problems without access to help all the time.
"This particular case is one of greater proportion and greater tragedy, but with Riverview closed ... these people and the pressure on community hospitals ... people coming in every day ... needing help... they're not getting it," said Stark.
Two of Osuteye's victims are now suing St. Paul's Hospital. Elizabeth Rizos, 79, says a psychiatrist assessed Osuteye just hours before the incident, and he should never have been released.
"The man that hit me, he was sick — I don't blame him. It's the people who take care of him that should have been more careful," said Rizos.
Mercy Osuteye said she hopes her son's struggle might inspire others to support those with mental health problems.
"I would just say: Continue to support them," she said.
"Don't be ashamed of it. Continue to support them, get the help they need."
Osuteye, originally from Edmonton, will remain at the forensic hospital where he has been treated since his arrest. The B.C. Review Board will decide if and when he can be released.