'Not in his right mind': Saskatoon man who killed mother, seriously injured father found not criminally responsible
A Saskatoon man who killed his mother and seriously injured his father has been found not criminally responsible for his actions.
Kevin Hollman struggled through a tearful apology before Justice Mona Dovell rendered her decision.
"I had two of the best parents in the world," Hollman said.
"I love my father with all my heart and I love my mom more than words can describe. She was my best friend, she had a spark for life that shined brightly for many people."
On Jan. 6, police responded to a reported disturbance at his parent's Lakeview neighbourhood home in the 200 block of Wakaw Place.
They found Hollman's 60-year-old mother Debbie Hollman dead and his father Gary Hollman suffering from multiple stab wounds.
Hollman was charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder.
On Monday, in a joint submission, both the Crown and Hollman's defence asked Justice Dovell to find Hollman not criminally responsible.
'A LOT OF SCREAMING'
An agreed statement of facts read out by the Crown in a packed Court of Queen's Bench courtroom laid out the rationale behind the recommendation, starting with what happened the night Debbie was killed.
Court heard Hollman and his father spent the evening watching a hockey game.
According to Gary, Hollman seemed "a little manic" while they were watching the game but it was otherwise uneventful. Afterwards, Hollman headed to his room in the basement and Gary went to bed.
Around, 1:30 a.m. the couple was awoken by the sound of Hollman "causing a commotion downstairs," court heard.
Debbie went downstairs to see if she could calm Hollman down; later Gary heard "a lot of screaming" and ran downstairs.
He found his wife "bleeding profusely" in the kitchen. It appeared Hollman had left the house.
Just after 2 a.m., while Gary was on the phone with an emergency dispatcher, Hollman returned.
Speaking to the dispatcher, Gary said he looked like he was "possessed" and that he was unable to communicate or reason with his son.
Shortly after coming back inside the house, Hollmanattacked Gary with a knife, court heard.
Gary ran outside into the frigid winter night with Hollman following.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Gary attempted to "talk Kevin down" but his son attacked him again in the cul-de-sac in front of the family's home.
After a struggle, Gary managed to break free, running back inside the house and locking the door.
Police arrived at 2:07 a.m. finding Hollman in front of a nearby house wearing a light-pink puffy jacket with blood smears on it, court heard.
He began walking towards the two responding officers, refusing an order to stop and put his hands in the air.
As Hollman approached one officer readied her Taser ready while the other drew her gun.
The officer Tasered Hollman but it "was not effective," with the 34-year-old running towards the family home yelling "something unintelligible."
Hollman was Tasered again on the front porch of the home as he was trying to enter a door code.
He fell to the ground but continued to resist, court heard.
Hollman was Tasered 17 times during the course of his arrest.
While much of what he was saying was "incomprehensible" he was heard saying repeatedly "I love you mom and I'm sorry."
'BEYOND MEDICAL HELP'
Court heard when Gary opened the door for police he was "very pale" and his shirt was "drenched in blood."
Through tears, Gary and told police his wife was dead and pointed to the kitchen.
One of the officers, a former paramedic, went to the kitchen and found signs of a struggle and "blood-spattered across most of the kitchen," court heard.
She concluded Debbie "was beyond medical help" and turned her attention to Gary who had been stabbed 11 times.
Paramedics eventually took over his care, later transporting him to Royal University Hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile, Hollman continued to struggle with police, with multiple officers required to get him into a vehicle.
He "muttered gibberish to himself" and provided "nonsensical" answers to many of the questions that he was asked, court heard.
Hollman also appeared to be having a "contentious conversation between two people by himself."
He also said he had taken "mushrooms and some other shit" earlier in the evening.
During a preliminary search, police found a serrated kitchen knife in the middle of the cul-de-sac in front of the home, near a pool of blood.
(Dan Shingoose/CTV News)
Other knives were found on the floor of the kitchen, with one under Debbie's body.
Police also found magic mushrooms and "other various substances" in his basement suite.
It is not known with certainty whether or not Hollman had ingested intoxicating substances before the attacks, court heard.
Gary had 11 stab wounds on his torso, including one in each lung and eight across his back and the back of his arm.
Debbie's autopsy revealed she had seven stab wounds to her head and neck and 25 stab wounds to her torso including six wounds perforating her lungs and two wounds to her heart.
As part of their joint submission, the Crown and defence detailed Hollman's troubled history and his family's efforts to help him.
While he was an "anxious child who struggled in group settings" and "began to struggle with his focus" towards the end of high school, he excelled at sports, particularly basketball.
He played at the University of Saskatchewan during his first year, before quitting in his second year.
Hollman moved to Winnipeg to attend the University of Manitoba for his third year, joining the team there.
Around Christmas of that year, Gary and Debbie went to visit Hollman and found his room in a "state of disarray" and that he was consuming "excessive amounts" of alcohol.
Hollman had again stopped playing basketball and no longer attended class. He moved back to Saskatoon and began attending the (U of S) but was "ultimately unsuccessful" in obtaining a degree.
Court heard, Hollman has had few jobs and his primary employment was working with his mother in residential real estate management and renovation.
Just one of several examples that were shared in court that showed how Debbie emerged as Hollman's key support as he didn't have close friends or "significant" romantic relationships.
Debbie Hollman is shown in a family photo shared on social media. (Facebook)
Debbie attempted to shield the rest of his family from Hollman's mental health issues which "were evident to his family."
Six or seven years ago, Hollman began experiencing headaches which may have been related to an eye condition he had surgery to correct.
The surgery reduced the severity of the headaches but the pain eventually returned. The medical cause of the headaches has not been determined.
Hollman began self-medicating to deal with his chronic pain, consuming heroin, magic mushrooms, crystal meth, marijuana and alcohol.
Hollman began experiencing frequent hallucinations and delusions, often involving aliens, according to the agreed statement of facts.
Court heard he became unable to tell the difference between the hallucinations and reality and they began to occur "on a regular basis" whether or not he used intoxicants.
Hollman became increasingly paranoid and believed "bad aliens" were trying to take over the world and that psychiatric help was a "trick."
He also believed cellular towers were "shooting" radiation at him.
In 2016, Hollman was admitted to a psychiatric facility after a manic episode in Victora.
Debbie travelled to B.C. to help Hollman through the experience and subsequently moved him back to Saskatoon.
A year later, he moved to Blackstrap Lake, becoming increasingly anti-social. He continued to seek medical treatment for his headaches.
During his time at Blackstrap, Hollman's family doctor reported signs of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and prescribed "a number of medications."
As was the case when he was prescribed antidepressants while attending university, Hollman was not compliant with his treatment, court heard.
In September of 2020, Hollman acted "erratically for a number of days" and barricaded himself inside his home after boarding it up with sheet metal.
Debbie and Gary sought a mental health warrant and police assisted in an intervention.
While Debbie consulted with a physician at the time, Hollman was not assessed by a doctor or admitted to a psychiatric facility.
Instead, the couple moved their son into their Lakeview neighbourhood home.
Over the coming months, Hollman's behaviour became more erratic "and his belief in the aliens seemed to intensify," court heard.
Hollman has said on the night of the incident, he took some "unidentified drugs" he ordered online and some "magic mushrooms."
Whether are not this is the case and the amount he may have ingested can not be verified.
Hollman is not known never violently acted out before the night he attacked his parents, court heard.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Hollman said he does not remember anything from that evening except watching the hockey game with his dad and later being questioned by police and saying "a bunch of crazy stuff."
In March, Hollman underwent a psychiatric assessment at Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford.
He was "acutely unwell" and "wracked with guilt," court heard.
Staff were concerned Hollman might harm himself if left unsupervised.
After he was "treated and stabilized," Hollman was diagnosed with "acute" schizophrenia with a secondary diagnosis of substance abuse disorder.
The psychiatrist treating Hollman believed he was "probably not criminally responsible at the time" of the attacks.
'WE LOVE YOU' FAMILY SAYS
In a moment that brought many in the courtroom to tears, a victim impact statement authored by the family was read out loud by Crown prosecutor Aaron Martens.
"Kevin, we love you so much. We love you unconditionally and will always be there for you," read the statement.
"We will face our tragedies and our challenges together side by side. This is a victim impact statement, and you are also a victim. You have endured more than any person should have to," the statement said.
"We want to give you a hug and cry with you. you've had to endure this pain alone in the correction system for 10 months through 102 days of pure isolation without anyone to support you.
"You've found the strength to survive each day; the strength of mum runs through you. Her love for you is endless."
As Justice Mona Dovell began to render her decision, she was interrupted by Hollman's defence attorney Brad Mitchell who said he had neglected to say his client had wished to address the court.
After advising Hollman that he was not required to speak, the accused shakily stood and read his remarks from a piece of paper with many visibly weeping as he spoke.
Hollman ended by saying "The last thing I would have wanted would be to cause harm in any way to the two people I love the most. I want to say how truly sorry I am for the harm I've caused everyone."
After he finished, Dovell said the statement is yet another example of how tragic the case is.
"I've seen firsthand the amount of work that both defence and Crown counsel have put into putting forth a proposal that's in everyone's best interest. Kevin's best interest. The family's best interest," Dovell said
"And for that matter, the administration of justice('s) best interest."
Because Dovell rendered a not criminally responsible verdict, his future will be decided by Saskatchewan Review Board.
At the request of his defence, as part of her decision Dovell is recommending Hollman be transferred to Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford for continued treatment.
While speaking with reporters outside court, Mitchell said Dovell's verdict was the right one in this matter for both his client and his client’s family.
"The evidence supported it. It was the right verdict for the accused in the circumstances, based upon the evidence," Mitchell said.
"The Crown and I worked very hard in coming to the proposal we came to, to put before the judge because it was the right result for all parties."
Martens said based on evidence from police reports and Hollman's psychiatric evaluations, there is little question about his state of mind during the event.
"We have a very clear finding that he was not criminally responsible that he didn’t appreciate the nature and quality of his acts, that he didn’t know they were wrong and when we have a case this clear, there’s absolutely no point in arguing it before a judge," Martens said.
"Kevin was simply not in his right mind at the time of the incident."
--With files from CTV News Saskatoon's Francois Biber.
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