EDMONTON — A mental health board has opted to take a cautious approach in granting liberties for an Alberta man who killed his mother because he thought she was possessed by Satan.
Alexander James Thorpe, 21, was arrested in January after showing up at an Airdrie, Alta., car dealership nude, except for a gold cross around his neck, covered in blood. He indicated to first responders that he was told by Jesus to kill Satan, whom he believed had taken over his mother's body.
The Alberta Review Board said in a report Tuesday that Thorpe should remain at the Southern Alberta Psychiatry Centre for his treatment and that he still poses "a significant threat to the safety of the public."
It has rejected both an absolute discharge or even a conditional discharge at this point in his care.
"Mr. Thorpe is currently detained in hospital and the treatment team has not yet recommended any plan to transition him to community accommodation," board chair Gerald Hawranik wrote in the report.
"Put simply, a conditional discharge would be extremely premature and is not an appropriate form of disposition at this time."
Thorpe pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in Melanie Lowen's death and was found not criminally responsible in October.
The review board hearing heard that Thorpe is being treated with lithium for a form of bipolar disorder that can cause episodes of psychosis and that he has been in spontaneous remission since shortly after his arrest.
The board also heard that he has been a model patient and has a good chance, with ongoing intensive treatment, in keeping his condition under control.
Thorpe is to receive staff-supervised grounds privileges and be allowed supervised passes to attend medical appointments in Calgary.
But the panel said it is too soon to allow him any unsupervised privileges.
"The way bipolar has manifested itself in Mr. Thorpe is anything but typical or average. This ongoing uncertainty compelled the board to require the treatment team to take a more cautious approach," Hawranik wrote.
"The ongoing uncertainty about Mr. Thorpe's specific bipolar profile elevates to an unacceptably high degree the risk that Mr. Thorpe will cause serious physical or psychological harm to members of the public if he is left unsupervised."
Thorpe told the board last month he takes responsibility for what he has done.
"The day that I fully grasped the reality of my situation I felt a sense of panic and overwhelm that I wasn't sure would ever go away. Soon after it shifted to intense guilt and anguish but thankfully the emotions have kind of eased in intensity," he said.
His progress is to be reviewed again in a year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2022.
The Canadian Press