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Severn Township man guilty of 2020 fatal stabbing cites not criminally responsible

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Justice Snache was found guilty by a Barrie judge on Monday for the stabbing death of Derek Simmerson in Orillia in 2020, as both the defence and Crown argue that Snache should not be held criminally responsible for his actions.

Simmerson was walking along Coldwater Road on Nov. 19, 2020, when he was stabbed in the heart and liver and left lying in the middle of the road.

The 34-year-old died in the hospital.

Three days later, police arrested Snache at a gas station on Highway 11.

In the Barrie courtroom Monday, a forensic psychiatrist testified he diagnosed Snache with schizophrenia and psychosis, telling the court the 22-year-old Severn Township man had hallucinations and heard voices when he killed Simmerson, fearing he would be killed if he didn't stab him first.

The second-degree murder trial was supposed to get underway last week following an unsuccessful attempt by the defence to have crucial evidence excluded from the proceedings, including a police-recorded confession video of Snache hours after he called police to say he wanted "to confess to a murder."

Snache told police, "I think I stabbed him, pulled out the knife. He ran a little bit, and then I ended up stabbing him again."

In the video, Snache told police he had heard about the stabbing on the news and told the officer he killed someone and "didn't get in trouble for it," adding, "I feel a little better getting it off my chest."

Ultimately Justice Cary Boswell found police made several errors when dealing with Snache but ruled the evidence admissible, including a bloody knife found in the back of a cab traced back to him with Simmerson's blood on it.

Justice Boswell must now decide whether he accepts Snache was not criminally responsible for Simmerson's death due to his mental disorder at the time of the killing.

If found not criminally responsible, Snache's fate will likely be in the hands of the Ontario Review Board.

It's expected Justice Boswell will make his ruling on Wednesday.

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