At a time when there is a national push in the United States to legalize marijuana across the country, a case in Canada should give pause to legislators giving this consideration.
A Muskoga, British Columbia man was just sentenced to 5 years in jail, less time served, for the brutal murder of his 67-year-old father.
Adam Vehl, age 31, entered a plea of guilty to manslaughter in Barrie court on Nov. 22. The judge in the case called the incident “horrifying and unusually brutal.’ Apparently, it wasn’t horrifying and brutal enough to justify a longer sentence.
Adam viciously stabbed his father, John Vehl to death, and then beheaded him on Aug. 11, 2018. Crown attorney led the court through the period leading up to the brutal murder.
Adam returned to Ontario from British Columbia to visit family and friends at a Kahshe Lake cottage prior to the murder. During the week, he appeared agitated at times and showed aggressive behavior. On the weekend of the murder, 14 people were visiting the cottage.
At the time of the murder, Adam Vehl was a heavy cannabis user, having consumed the substance, which was then illegal, throughout the week and twice before the incident.
John Vehl spoke to guests after they arrived, advising them that something was wrong with Adam, but asked them not to address him directly, as he found it upsetting. He did however thank them for their support.
On 2pm on the day of the murder, the group was having lunch when Adam got agitated, became angry at a friend, and then shoved him outside the screened-in gazebo where they were dining. Adam told his friend, “you have to leave now.” Once outside, he punched his friend in the head.
Adam went inside and a short time later returned carrying a large knife. His father attempted to intercede, however Adam stabbed him. John fell to the ground, at which point Adam continued stabbing him. He continued stabbing him in the torso, and then decapitated him with the knife.
Witnesses from the other side of the bay saw Adam “stabbing or sawing” at the body of his father. In addition, some witnesses saw him biting his father’s body.
Also, they said the heard a “howling” sound, like an animal. Adam picked up his father’s head and ran across the shoreline, throwing it and what was believed to be the knife, into the lake.
Adam jumped off the dock while shouting the name of his girlfriend, yelling “I love you,” and “I am free.”
When authorities arrived at the cottage, they saw the suspect rocking back and forth over his father’s corpse. When police tried to question him, he refused to cooperate; they needed two rubber bullets to try to subdue him.
The shots had no effect on him. They then used a taser to subdue him. When he was asked his name, he replied:
“Adam, the Devil” in different voice than his own, almost as if possessed.
During trial, he seemed lucid and apologized to everyone that he put through “this terrifying and traumatic experience.” He was able to make eye contact with the witnesses to the incident and expressed understanding that they may not want to have any further contact with him.
He continued that the incident didn’t represent the love he had for his father, whom he said went above and beyond for family and friends. He referred to his father as a hero for trying to protect all those at the cottage.
During the trial, the defense of “cannabis induced psychosis” was raised by his attorney.
Among the symptoms of CIP are paranoia, anxiety, and perceptual alterations. Many of the characteristics of CIP and schizophrenia are similar. Other symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, and dissociative disorder.
Apparently, the justice in this case, the Honorable Michelle Fuest, bought Vehl’s apology.
She acknowledged that it was “sincere and heartfelt” before she accepted the plea agreement, or “joint submission” as it’s referred to in Canada. The submission was for five years of jail time, minus the 23 months and 14 days he had been in custody pursuant to his arrest.
Apparently, CIP is a “thing” in Canada. On April 17, 2017, Kathy Dickout of Edmonton, Alberta was found with stab wounds in her home. Jason Dickout was subsequently arrested and charged with the murder. Jason, age 33, had visited his parents for Easter and admitted that he had smoked marijuana with his sister.
Just as in the case with Vehl, he started to exhibit erratic and anxious behavior. His sister gave him CBD oil to try to calm him down. Just after midnight, his sister called 911 to report that Jason had stabbed their mother and was “screaming like a crazy person.”
When authorities arrived, they found Jason Dickout naked below the waist with his mother laying in the kitchen in a pool of blood.
Police found a six-inch kitchen knife next to her, along with a pair of men’s pajamas. Both her jugular vein and carotid artery had been severed. An autopsy later discovered that she had been stabbed 12 times.
Kathy Dickout had gone to the grocery store and arrived home around 10:30 p.m. Jason helped her with the groceries. Shortly afterward, he started to act strangely. He then attacked his mother without provocation in the kitchen at around midnight.
Once at the police station, Dickout told officers:
“I killed my mom. She was so beautiful. She was always thinking of me. My mom deserves to live.”
Afterward he became hysterical and started screaming. He also asked a male detective if he was his mother.
“Mom is that you? I’m sorry mom.”
Two doctors who assessed Dickout believed that he was experiencing CIP. While he was originally charged with second degree murder, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter last November.
Sentencing however has been delayed until after the new year. Justice Vital Ouellette was told that a forensic assessment will not be completed until then due to a clerical error.
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One can imagine that now that legalization of cannabis is a “thing” in the United States that we will soon follow Canada for these types of cases.
Just last month, we reported on an even more disturbing beheading.
In what could be one of the most gruesome ways to lose your life, a young mother was made to helplessly watch home invaders saw off her young son and daughter’s heads before being murdered herself.
Five-year old A’Laylaih Fisher was stabbed 20 times before police say her killer Michael Collins, 26, tried to remove her head. They say Collins then stabbed A’Layaih’s four-year old brother Elijah 14 times before decapitating him at the family’s home in Little Rock, Arkansas, in December 2017.
The youngsters’ mother, Mariah Cunningham, 24, was allegedly held down by Collins’ accomplice, William Burnell Alexander, 23, and forced to watch before she too was stabbed to death. Prosecutor Barbara Mariana revealed the horrific details during the opening day of Collins’ capital murder trial.
She told jurors it had only taken him 20 minutes to ‘annihilate’ Mariah and her children after he and half-brother Alexander robbed the family’s apartment.
Jurors at Pulaski County Court heard how the family had been slaughtered just for a TV, Xbox and Cunningham’s broken-down Honda, which was abandoned shortly afterwards. Collins and Alexander mistakenly believed the mother was wealthy.
Collins had previously lodged with Mariah, with Mariana telling jurors the killings were:
“Designed to cause the most unimaginable terror…all because (Mariah) couldn’t give him what he wanted.”
Despite a capital murder charge carrying a maximum sentence of death, Collins will not be executed now that he has been convicted.
The court heard how Collins allegedly fled to Chicago after the killings, with local cops directing US Marshals to an address where he was staying. There, federal agents are said to have found the suspect asleep on a couch, next to a pair of Adidas trainers splattered with his alleged victims’ blood.
Collins was taken into custody – and is then said to have confessed to what he’d done to a fellow inmate after claiming Mariah’s ghost had haunted him. That cellmate – bank robber Marino Bernard Scott, 47, came forward to police to share how Collins had been wracked with guilt by what he is accused of doing.
Prosecutor Marinara said:
“Like any good mother, Mariah fought and fought, and then she haunted him in his dreams.”
Collins denied the charges he faces, with his defense attorney Katherine Streett yet to unveil his version of events. The jury deliberated less than a half an hour before finding Collins guilty of a triple murder.
Prosecutors were able to convince a jury that Collins, along with half-brother Alexander, traveled to the Little Rock home of Mariah Cunningham in December 2017 with grisly intent.
The bodies were found by Cunningham’s 78-year-old grandmother, who had gone to the house after her phone calls were not returned.
Police found bleach on the bodies and a steak knife believed to be the murder weapon in the bathtub. Although the prosecution had no witnesses, they brought the case based on material evidence.
Arkansas detective Terry McDaniel connected Collins with the victim and was able to determine he had left the state. He alerted U.S. marshals and five days after the crime, they found him in Chicago. A search found blood on Collins’ shoes. DNA testing revealed that the blood matched all three victims.
In addition, Collins’ cellmate, Marino Bernard Scott, testified that during the 30 days they had been in jail, Collins had confessed to him that he had gone to Cunningham’s house to see if she would give him money. When she refused, he began to “punish” her children.
Collins did not testify at the trial, and his public defense attorney only presented a single piece of evidence to argue that the victims’ DNA was present on the shoes because he had briefly lived with the family.
In April, prosecutors announced that they would seek the death penalty in the case. However, they then waived that request at the start of the trial. The guilty verdict will result in Collins spending life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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