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Stettler man not criminally responsible for killing his father: defence lawyer

Nicholas Johnson on trial for second-degree murder in death of father in January 2020

A Stettler man admits killing his father but is not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder, said his lawyer on Monday.

Nicholas Climb Johnson, 33, is accused of killing his father, Barry Douglas Johnson, on Jan. 15, 2020.

Defence lawyer Patty MacNaughton told Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Bruce Millar that she intends to argue that Johnson should not be held criminally responsible for his father’s death.

Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Crown prosecutor Greg Gordon described in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench the brutal slaying of Johnson, 67, in the basement of his Stettler home that January morning.

Nicholas’s mother and Barry’s wife had gone to work that morning and when she returned home in the early afternoon she found the front door locked, which was unusual.


Stettler man accused of killing his father

She knocked and Nicholas let her in and he then sat down at the kitchen table. She could see that his hands were cut and bleeding.

She asked him what happened and he said there was a bigger mess in the basement. When she went down she found her husband’s bloody body on the floor covered in a sheet.

A 911 call was made to police about 2:55 p.m. and two officers arrived at the house within minutes.

They found Nicholas at the kitchen table “staring blankly.”

In the basement, they found the body and evidence of a struggle in Barry’s room. The door had been smashed and there were blood spatters on the walls.

The statement of facts, said Nicholas took what he called a “sword of truth” from the kitchen and attacked his father, stabbing him a number of times.

His father tried to get away and at one point wrestled the knife off of his son. Nicholas badly cut his hands trying to get it back. A pinkie finger was nearly severed and later required plastic surgery.

Nicholas also hit his father with a clothes iron and a large rock.

An autopsy found 27 stab wounds on Barry, who died from blunt and sharp force injuries.

Nicholas was arrested without incident and taken to Stettler detachment and then to hospital to have his injuries tended. After being taken to the hospital again the next day, he gave a statement to police.

The police searched the home the same day and found a large carving knife and a smaller knife covered in blood. A rock, clothes iron and wooden stick were also recovered.

A chest freezer had also been mostly cleaned out, with the food on the floor beside it.

In the bathroom, police found bloody towels and a container of what appeared to be borax.

The trial continues Tuesday.

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