Calgary

'Monster' accused of shoving grandmother onto tracks to undergo 30-day psych assessment

As they laid eyes for the first time on the woman accused of trying to kill their mother in an unprovoked attack on a C-Train platform, emotions overwhelmed two siblings, who clung to each other as tears ran down their faces.

Woman in her 60s was pushed off platform as C-Train approached

Stephanie Favel was charged with attempted murder after shoving a woman onto the LRT tracks at the Victoria Park/Stampede Station last November. She pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on Friday. (Stephanie Favel/Facebook)

As they laid eyes for the first time on the woman accused of trying to kill their mother in a random attack on one of Calgary's C-Train platforms, emotions overwhelmed two siblings, who clung to each other as tears ran down their faces.

Stephanie Favel, 35, who is charged with the attempted murder of Rozalia Meichl, 64, was ordered Wednesday by a judge to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment because of mental health concerns.

"Seeing her shackled up and in a jailhouse sweater provides a little bit of relief knowing she's in custody," said Meichl's son, Allan Hein, outside the courtroom. He was in court for Favel's appearance along with his sister, Charmaine Newman.

Hein said he felt disgust and anger looking at Favel, whom he called a "monster."

Victim prays for accused

Meichl is still in hospital and it's unclear how long she'll remain there. She is now paralyzed and will spend the rest of her days in a wheelchair, said Hein.

She keeps giving family the thumbs up even though her son said Meichl — who had a pre-existing spinal condition and feared losing her mobility — is "living her worst nightmare" 

"I think we're actually doing well only because of mom's positive, optimistic approach to everything," said Hein. 

But then there are the overwhelming emotions Hein said the family can't hold back: "Ten minutes of laughing, 10 minutes of anger, then 10 minutes of crying."

It's not that Meichl isn't upset. She is angry with the woman accused of shoving her off the platform, said her son. But the other day, when a Calgary police detective who had been sitting at her bedside asked how she felt about Favel, Meichl said, "I pray for her."

Allan Hein attended court on Wednesday and saw, for the first time, the woman accused of trying to kill his mother in a random, unprovoked attack. Stephanie Favel was sent for a 30-day psychiatric assessment. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Last Thursday, Meichl was waiting on the Victoria Park platform after visiting a friend when she was shoved onto the tracks as a train was approaching.

The driver was able to stop just in time.

Favel was arrested shortly after by transit police.

Meichl's family said she had a pre-existing condition that involved a spinal fusion, so the drop severed her spine. 

She also had head trauma after hitting her head on the track and can't remember much from the attack.

Rozalia Meichl, 64, was pushed off a C-Train platform by a stranger in an unprovoked attack. She is now paralyzed, according to her family. (Submitted)

In 2015, Favel was charged with attempted murder in another random attack on a stranger but that charge has since been withdrawn.

After Favel was assessed by Dr. George Duska on Wednesday, she was escorted off to the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre for the next month. 

Favel also faces charges of aggravated assault and breach of probation in connection with the incident last Thursday. 

Defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli told Judge Bob Wilkins that Favel was consenting to the month-long assessment.

For the next month, doctors will evaluate Favel to determine whether she is mentally fit to stand trial. Favel has to understand the charges she faces and must be able to instruct her lawyer to proceed to trial.

"It's frustrating, for sure, but I understand it's all part of the process," said Hein.

Meanwhile, Meichl's community continues to rally around her; A fundraiser has been organized by Juan Forno for Nov. 29, taking place at the Elbow River Casino Yuk Yuks. 

Hein said his hero "sure as hell" is his mother. 

"Seeing what she's gone though, how she's pulled through, her optimism and relentless pursuit of life and living it to the fullest regardless of whether it's in a wheelchair or on her own two feet."

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.