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Jeffrey Arenburg Timeline

December 30, 1956 - Jeffrey Robert Arenburg is born in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. He spends his childhood and early teen years in nearby there. He dropped out of high school after grade 9 and began working as a fisherman.

1989 - At Age 32, Arenburg falls in an accident and suffers a spinal injury which permanently affects his legs. He begins walking with a cane, which he will need for the rest of his life.

1990 - No longer able to perform manual labor, Arenburg enrolls at Ottawa’s Algonquin College where he studies materials management.

July 1990 - Arenburg has his first psychiatric admission. Police bring Arenburg to a hospital in Bridgewater because he caused a disturbance at the local courthouse. Arenburg complained that his thoughts were being broadcast. He believed that his ex-wife’s family was selling his thoughts to a movie studio and that the studio intended to make a movie about them. Arenburg demanded that the court resolve the problem. He said that he had sought out Prime Minister Mulroney the previous year to find out why the court had delayed resolving the issue. Arenburg stated that if the broadcasting of his thoughts did not stop, he would burn down the house of his ex-wife’s family or kill someone.

Arenburg repeats these thoughts in hospital, but reportedly exhibits no other signs of mental disorder. Arenburg’s physicians conclude that he has a paranoid psychosis. Arenburg promises to accept outpatient treatment and demands to be discharged. He leaves hospital the day after he was admitted.

May 1991 - He is admitted to the Royal Ottawa Hospital as an involuntary patient because he threatened to harm the staff of the CHEZ radio station. He believed that CHEZ radio staff were broadcasting his thoughts on the radio, and he threatened to kill someone in order to bring the issue of the illegal broadcast of his thoughts to a judge.

Arenburg applied to the a review board to overturn his involuntary admission to hospital and it ruled that he could not be detained. Arenburg refused to remain in hospital and discharged himself against medical advice and returned to Nova Scotia.

October 1991- Second admission to hospital in Nova Scotia. Arenburg broke the windows of a local courthouse, frustrated at the fact that he could not see a judge. He was transferred to a regional psychiatric hospital where he was held involuntarily and treated with medication. He was then transferred back to his local hospital. They cannot detain him involuntarily and he leaves once again.

1991 -1994 Arenburg travels between Nova Scotia and Ottawa. He complains to authorities about radio waves and tries unsuccessfully to meet Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

1994 - Arenburg is arrested on an outstanding assault charge while on a trip back to Nova Scotia. He is convicted placed on probation. during the trial, Arenburg spoke about radio waves, but was not taken for assessment. The court assumed that as part of his probation he would receive treatment, but he does not.

He sets off for Ottawa, taking a .22 calibre rifle from the farm with him.

1995 - Arenburg resumes attending classes at Algonquin college and rents a two-bedroom apartment with a friend and his friend’s girlfriend.

August 1, 1995 - Jeffrey Arenburg drives to Ottawa’s CJOH TV station. Sportscaster Brian Smith, a former NHL player and local legend is on his way to a charity event. At 6:50 p.m., Smith exits the building and Arenburg recognizes him as a member of the media. Arenburg fires two shots from his .22 calibre rifle and one strikes Smith in the forehead. Arenburg drives home to wait for police. He expects that they will know he shot Brian Smith and come to his apartment because they have been monitoring his thoughts.

August 2, 1995 - The day after the shooting, no police have arrived so Arenburg goes to an Ottawa court and turns himself in. He hopes that the shooting will have drawn sufficient attention to get him a meeting with the Prime Minister.

September 1995 - Arenburg is charged with first-degree murder. He is sent to the Royal in Ottawa for sixty days’ psychiatric assessment. He is initially deemed fit to stand trial.

September 29, 1995 - Arenburg is discharged from the Royal and returns to prison to await trial.

July 17, 1996 - Arenburg is sent back to the Royal from prison for one month.

February 17, 1997 - During his 18 months in custody, Arenburg refuses medication despite frequent delusions and hallucinations. A fitness jury agrees that he is unfit to stand trial.

February 18, 1997 - The court orders Arenburg be returned to the Royal so that he may be treated and made fit to stand trial. Being rendered fit to stand trial are the only circumstances under which someone can be forced to accept medication. He is started on an injection of a long-acting antipsychotic drug.

April 21, 1997 - Arenburg no longer experiencing hallucinations or delusions. Psychiatrists say his schizophrenia is in full remission.

April 28, 1997 - He is found fit to stand trial.

April 29, 1997 - The trial begins. Jeffrey Arenburg is found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder (NCR) for first-degree murder.

May 1, 1997 - The trial judge orders Arenburg be sent to the Royal while he awaits his hearing and disposition by the Ontario Review Board. When someone is found NCR, they then fall under the responsibility of a provincial review board which has three decisions about their care: the person can be given an absolute discharge (freed), a conditional discharge (freed but must meet certain criteria) or detention in hospital.

June 1997 - The Ontario Review Board orders Jeffrey Arenburg detained at the Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre, a maximum security psychiatric hospital.

September 1997 - Arenburg is switch from one medication, which is causing tremors, to another that has fewer side effects. During his first five years in detention, Arenburg does not experience any delusions, but is initially not permitted to leave. He is eventually permitted escorted day passes.

March 2003 - Arenburg is allowed to live outside the hospital but is not discharged. At first, he lives in a group home and later with his brother. He reports to hospital every week.

May 2005 - Arenburg is granted conditional discharge. He must report to the hospital every month. He continues to live with his brother and begins volunteering two days per week.

November 15, 2006 - Jeffrey is granted absolute discharge by the Ontario Review Board. His exit scores place him a low risk category for re-offending. His doctors do not believe he is a significant risk to others.

Counsel for the Attorney General oppose his discharge and recommends he remain on conditional discharge.

November 29, 2007- Arenburg is arrested for assaulting an American customs officer at the Peace Bridge at the Ontario border with New York State. Arenburg was on a group charter bus and did not have valid documentation to enter the U.S. He was referred to a secondary search and during the pat down, punched the customs officer in the face. Arenburg had tried to enter the United States earlier in the month and was denied due to lack of documentation.

May 21, 2008 - Despite some bizarre testimony about microwaves amid his insistence that voices did not make him punch the customs officers, Jeffrey Arenburg is deemed fit to stand trial after spending nearly a year awaiting trial. During that time he underwent mental assessment and it was deemed his schizophrenia was in remission. He opts to represent himself. He is found guilty of assaulting a federal officer and sentenced to two years in prison and is to be deported at the time of his release.

September 6, 2009- Arenburg is released from prison and left at the border in Canada. Arenburg resumes living with his brother in Ontario.

Winter 2012 - Arenburg is stopped for speeding in Quebec. He flees and is then arrested. In court he calls the Judge an idiot and is sentenced to six months in jail for contempt of court.

Early 2013- Arenburg returns to his hometown in Nova Scotia. He yells at officials at several government offices, which issue restraining orders against him.

He begins living in a motel where he tries to start a business. Using the skills he learned on his college business course, he applies for a business licence. He does not get any clients and is unable to get work.

December 2013 - In his first-ever media interview, Jeffrey Arenburg shows the fifth estate’s Bob McKeown what life is like for him - playing solitaire on his laptop, driving to the grocery store and drawing suspicion from a small town that remembers his 18-year-old crime.