Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The scene of a fatal house fire is shown near Wyses Corner, N.S., outside of Halifax on Jan. 8, 2015.

ANDREW VAUGHAN/The Canadian Press

A mentally ill man who killed his mother and two grandparents was found not criminally responsible for the murders by a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge.

Codey Reginald Hennigar, 32, was arrested in January 2015 after the bodies of his 54-year-old mother, Mildred Ann Ward, and her parents, Clifford and Ida Ward, were found following a fire inside his home in Wyses Corner, N.S.

On Tuesday, Judge Patrick Murray agreed with the defence and Crown that Hennigar, who had previously admitted to the killings, was not responsible for his actions because of his schizophrenia.

Story continues below advertisement

Hennigar was tried on three counts of second-degree murder.

"It's a case of unspeakable tragedy," said Crown attorney Mark Heerema in an interview following the court proceeding.

"There was a large contingent of family and friends of the victims in court today," he said. "Understandably it was a very difficult proceeding for them and a difficult day for them — this affected a great deal of lives."

Heerema said the victims died of a combination of blunt-force injuries to the head and smoke inhalation.

"Mr. Hennigar made a series of agreements at his trial as well as admissions that he killed his family members and ... after the individuals were killed Mr. Hennigar set the house on fire," he said.

Heerema said at least one of the victims was still alive when the fire was set.

Police discovered the bodies inside the burned out remains of the home in a rural, wooded area about 25 kilometres northeast of Halifax's airport.

Story continues below advertisement

Hennigar was arrested after he rammed two RCMP vehicles with a car in the Milford area, about a half-hour drive from the scene of the blaze.

Heerema said the Crown was confident the verdict was the result of a "very thorough canvassing and consideration of the issues."

"It's a case where three psychiatrists with a combined experience of over 70 years felt very strongly that this was the appropriate verdict. And after reviewing the law, Justice Murray certainly agreed with that opinion."

Defence lawyer Malcolm Jeffcock said Hennigar's medical records leading up to the incident as well as the observations of witnesses about his condition in the months and years prior were also a factor.

"He had been an individual who had shown a classic progression of the illness without treatment," said Jeffcock.

He said the judge's decision derives from a system of justice that since 1843 has recognized that a person who fails to appreciate the "nature and quality of their action" due to a mental disorder should not be convicted of an offence.

Story continues below advertisement

"It happens fairly infrequently but unfortunately sometimes the cases that catch people's attention are the cases that involve something that is truly tragic, such as this case," said Jeffcock.

"There's no doubt that it's a significant impact on every member of that family including the accused, who now that he is not in such a psychotic state has to live with the reality of what he has done."

The judge ordered Hennigar to be held at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, N.S.

A criminal code review board will eventually determine if and when he can be released.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies