PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. – Child killer Allan Schoenborn agrees he should remain in psychiatric custody, but he wants to be transferred from British Columbia to a similar facility in Manitoba.
Schoenborn, who killed his three children in 2008 and was declared not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder, told a B.C. Review Board panel Friday that his mother and other family members live in Manitoba.
But relatives of Schoenborn’s former partner, Darcie Clarke, the mother of his children, opposed the request at the hearing, saying they have family members living in the area around Selkirk, Man.
At the hearing, Schoenborn and his lawyer argued a move to the facility near Winnipeg would help Schoenborn reintegrate into society.
“My family is in Winnipeg, I was born and raised in Winnipeg, it’s the right place to be,” Schoenborn told the panel.
He said his mother has visited him several times in Port Coquitlam B.C., and that he believes he will have more support if he was moved to the Selkirk psychiatric facility.
“She was very kind in her visits and very attentive to me so I would like that to continue in Winnipeg,” Schoenborn said. “She loves me and I love her.”
His plea did not move members of Clarke’s family.
“I feel sorry for Mrs. Schoenborn, Allan’s mother,” said Stacy Galt, Clarke’s cousin.
“I wish her all the best and I hope this doesn’t cause her any pain but I do believe our side of the family might be fighting this to keep other people in our family safe.”
The B.C. Review Board panel reserved its decision until later Friday or Monday on whether to agree to the transfer, though the move was not opposed by his treatment team nor anyone representing the Port Coquitlam facility.
Lyle Hillaby, a lawyer representing the Crown, also did not oppose the transfer.
“At this level, the Crown supports that request for the reason that, on the evidence before you, the task of reintegration would probably be better there and the management of risk would be better managed there,” he said.
Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder of the 2008 murders of his children, 10-year-old Kaitlynne, eight-year-old Max and five-year-old Cordon.
He told his trial he killed them to protect them from an imagined threat of sexual abuse.
In 2011, the case prompted renewed headlines when the B.C. Review Board concluded that the lead psychiatrist at the Port Coquitlam facility could allow Schoenborn to take escorted trips into the community.
It was later discovered Clarke lived in the same area.
Clarke’s brother, Mike, said he has a daughter and a granddaughter that live near Selkirk.
“I’m afraid for that.”
Schoenborn was clean shaven, his hair cut short for the brief appearance before the review board, a stark contrast to the long-haired man who appeared at trial.
“It was kind of nerve-wracking for me to see him there,” Mike Clarke said.
“It took every ounce to refrain myself from wanting to blurt any bad things out to him, or say anything to him. All I could do was just look at him.
“I hate the guy for what he did. ”
Schoenborn’s case prompted reforms of the federal laws governing high-risk mentally ill offenders.
Under the proposed changes announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week, people found not criminally responsible for violent crimes could face reviews only every three years.
Under the current rules, Schoenborn is entitled to a hearing every year. Last year he delayed the hearing because it fell too close to the anniversary of the children’s deaths.
Schoenborn has also been beaten at the B.C. facility. When asked by a panel member why he was asking for the transfer, Schoenborn said: “There’s no select movement in the hospital now and it’s starting to become bothersome.”
Schoenborn did not ask for any alteration to his custody and made no request for leave.
The Selkirk Mental Health Centre is the same facility where Vince Li, the man who beheaded and cannibalized a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in July 2008, is being treated.