EDMONTON â€” A jury has found an Edmonton man guilty of first-degree murder for stabbing two co-workers to death in a bloody attack at a grocery warehouse.
Jayme Pasieka, who is 32, has also been convicted on four counts of attempted murder in the attack three years ago.
Pasieka looked blankly ahead as the verdicts were read.
Relatives and friends of the victims hugged, cried and held hands.
Pasieka faces two automatic life sentences, but Justice Donna Shelley has asked the jury to deliberate on how long he should spend in prison before he can apply for parole.
Much of the case focused on whether Pasieka, who has schizophrenia, was capable of planning the attack and intended to kill his co-workers.
He testified in his own defence and said he had given up on life, was hearing voices in his head and hoped that if he stabbed people he would get the help he needed.
Thierno Bah, 41, and Fitzroy Harris, 50, were killed.
Defence lawyer Peter Royal said during closing arguments that Pasieka had severe schizophrenia and told police after the attack that he didn’t plan to kill and that he felt sad about what happened.
Crown prosecutor Kim Goddard told the jury that Pasieka’s mental-health symptoms were mild and evidence showed he planned to end his own suffering by killing others.
The jury heard that on the day of the attack Pasieka wore a military-style vest, dressed all in black and left his Edmonton home armed with two knives.
Before going to work, he went to a store at West Edmonton Mall to buy two extra knives and had a normal conversation with a clerk. He testified that he purchased the additional knives in case the first two became dull.
When Pasieka arrived at the Loblaws warehouse, he signed in for his shift and put on a sweatshirt to hide the weapons.
Goddard said Pasieka then walked slowly toward a group of co-workers before stabbing people multiple times, aiming for the chest and head.
“Why stab people in the head and chest if you don’t intend to kill them?” Goddard asked during her closing argument.
A forensic psychiatrist testified that Pasieka would have understood that inflicting severe injury on someone would have led to death.
The psychiatrist also said Pasieka was capable of exercising free will and making choices.
John Cotter, The Canadian Press