Colin John, from Chemainus, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Derek Descoteau. (File photo)

Decision on the mental fitness of accused Vancouver Island slasher pending

Colin John charged with second-degree murder in 2016 Chemainus stabbing

Whether Colin John is considered mentally fit to continue with his second-degree murder trial should be known on Aug. 23.

After more than a week, John’s hearing to determine his mental fitness wrapped up in the Duncan courthouse on Aug. 15, and Justice Lisa Warren, who is presiding over the trial, said she will reserve judgment until Aug. 23.

John is charged with the May 2016 murder of 20-year-old Derek Descoteau and attempted murder in connection with an attack on then-16-year-old Janelle Guyatt, Descoteau’s girlfriend, at a residence in Chemainus.

RELATED: Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing

Stabbed several times, Descoteau succumbed to his injuries en route to hospital. Guyatt survived the attack, but suffered knife wounds.

The trial began in November 2018, and 14 witnesses were called to testify over several weeks. The prosecution wrapped up its case in early December, but defence lawyer Scott Sheets was given permission to seek a psychiatric assessment of his client prior to opening his defence of John.

Questions around John’s mental state were brought up earlier in the trial.

RELATED: John murder trial at Duncan courthouse on pause

Justice Warren halted the trial for several days in November when she ordered that John undergo a psychiatric assessment. Warren called for the assessment after John began banging his head against the steel cage in the transport vehicle on Nov. 22 and was in a catatonic state when he arrived at the courthouse.

After the assessment was completed, John was deemed fit to continue the trial, and the prosecution’s case resumed several days later.

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