Allan Dwayne Schoenborn committed a crime so horrendous the judge found he could not be held criminally responsible for his acts, because no reasonable or rationale person could do such a thing.
“I find that Mr. Schoenborn did commit the first-degree murder for each of his children … but is not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder,” Justice Robert Powers of B.C. Supreme Court ruled.
The children – Kaitlynne, 10, Max, 8 and Cordon, 5 – had been placed in their father’s care for a night by Mr. Schoenborn’s estranged common-law-wife, who had just told him reconciliation was impossible.
When Darcie Clark returned to her trailer home in Merritt, B.C., on April 6, 2008, she found her three children arranged as if sleeping. They had been smothered and the girl had been struck repeatedly with a cleaver. Scrawled in blood and soy sauce were the messages “Forever Young” and “Gone to Neverland.”
Crown lawyer Glenn Kelt, argued that Mr. Schoenborn was motivated by wanting to punish Ms. Clark. He waited until the children were asleep. He attacked his daughter with a cleaver, and when that didn’t kill her, he smothered her. He then smothered and strangled his little boys.
Mr. Schoenborn, a Vancouver roofer with a Grade 9 education and a history of mental illness, had followed the family to Merritt in hopes of reconciling with Ms. Clark. Just weeks earlier, he had pleaded guilty to violating a protection order that was put in place after he was accused of sexually assaulting her.
The trial heard that Mr. Schoenborn was consumed by jealousy and paranoia. When Ms. Clark told him she was expecting their first child, he began accusing her of being unfaithful.
He had been treated for psychotic illness, but refused to take his medication. In the months before the killings, he lost his job, was homeless and had been told a reunion with his family was impossible.
Mr. Schoenborn’s case has raised questions about government support for domestic-violence prevention and about how bail hearings are managed.
Days before the children were killed, Mr. Schoenborn was arrested over a disturbing incident at Kaitlynne’s elementary school. He was charged with two counts of uttering threats to cause bodily harm after he threatened a young girl who had upset his daughter.
Police asked that Mr. Schoenborn be held in custody over the weekend until April 7, when he could be brought before a judge in person.
Instead, in a bail hearing by telephone, justice of the peace Fraser Hodge agreed to free Mr. Schoenborn.
“I know we’re close to the line here on this one, but I am going to give Mr. Schoenborn a chance,” Mr. Hodge concluded. “I want you to remember that you got a good break on this, and, you know, appreciate that. Don’t let anything wrong,” he told Mr. Schoenborn. Continue reading Schoenborn Not Criminally Responsible for Killing Children