"Get that kid."
Those were the words of a schizophrenic "command voice" so powerful that Nicholas Layman cannot be convicted in the stabbing of an 11-year-old boy on a Newfoundland soccer field, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Mr. Layman heard the phantom instruction moments before plunging a 25-centimetre blade into the boy's neck and chest, Judge Colin Flynn read from his decision in provincial court.
He found that Mr. Layman, now 21, was so sick with uncontrolled psychosis on Sept. 25, 2014, that he cannot be held criminally responsible.
"Mr. Layman was suffering from a mental disorder to such an extent that he was unable to understand that what he did was morally wrong. As a result, I find that Mr. Layman is not guilty of the offences on account of mental disorder pursuant to S. 16 of the Criminal Code of Canada," said Flynn.
The attack happened during an evening soccer camp in Conception Bay South, west of St. John's, attended by more than 20 players between the ages of 10 and 13 and their parents.
Mr. Layman was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. He showed no emotion as he sat in the witness box Wednesday with his ankles shackled and hands folded.
Layman will remain in custody in a forensic psychiatric unit at the Waterford Hospital in St. John's. A review board including medical and legal professionals will monitor his mental state. It will also decide if and when he will be released, and under what conditions.