B.C. Supreme Court Justice Hope Hyslop ruled on Thursday that a Westmount teenager was not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder for the murder of his father last year.
Joshua Steel, 19, will remain in custody at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam until a hearing before the B.C. Review Board. The hearing must take place within 45 days.
"I love you, Joshua," the teen's mother, Amy, told him as he sat in the prisoner's dock. He waved to his sister as the court was adjourned.
The Steel family, including Joshua's sisters, sat outside court sobbing after hearing the circumstances of the case for the first time as the judge rendered her decision.
"It is because we didn't really know what happened (before)," said Amy Steel, Joshua's mother and the wife of the victim, Phil Steel. "We didn't really want to know."
The family was comforted by friends as they struggled with their grief for both victim and offender.
"He's finally going to get the help he needed," Amy Steel said. "No one listened to us. They kept sending him back home."
She knew from the first sign of symptoms that something was seriously wrong with her son.
"I could tell by his facial expression something was wrong," she said. "He was acting weird around the house. He's a happy kid. He's not a bully. He's very obedient."
Paula Steel, one of Joshua's sisters, echoed her mother's lament over what the family feels was an inadequate health-care response.
"I wish people took it more seriously from the beginning," she said. "I don't want this to happen to other people."
Asked how they felt about the double tragedy, Paula Steel said, "There are no words."
Amy Steel said she is thankful for her faith in God for helping her to sleep at night and go on living. She thanked friends and other families for their support, as well as the RCMP and victim services.
"Without the support, we wouldn't be able to move forward."
© Kamloops Daily News