'Kill Satan': Trial hears Alberta man not criminally responsible for mother's death

The lawyer of a man charged in the death of his mother says his client is not criminally responsible.

Son found in nearby car dealership walking through the shop naked, court hears

Melanie Lowen is pictured with her son, Alexander James Thorpe, in this photo from social media. Thorpe pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in her murder. (Melanie Lowen/Facebook)

An Alberta man charged with murdering his mother told police and emergency medical services staff that he was ordered by Jesus to kill her because she was possessed by Satan.

Alexander James Thorpe pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in a Calgary courtroom. His lawyer said his client should be found not criminally responsible for the killing.

Thorpe was charged earlier this year after the body of Melanie Lowen, 48, was found in a home in Airdrie, just north of Calgary, in January.

RCMP were called after 20-year-old Thorpe walked through a car dealership naked, wearing only a gold cross around his neck and listening to his phone playing some kind of sermon.

"As I walked up to him, one of the guys handed me a fender cover to cover himself. And as I handed him the fender cover, I could see both his hands were covered in blood," testified dealership technician Alex Belyea.

"He said: 'God sent me. God is here for you. He loves you all."'

The employees called the RCMP.

"I asked him what was going on," testified RCMP Const. Aaron Forsythe.

"He said he was there to buy a used vehicle. He had blood on his hands and his feet. I asked him what the blood was from and he said he had been bitten."

The officer told court that Thorpe said he had killed Satan "with a knife and a door frame."

"He said he was attacked the night before and bitten and that is what it was from. And then he said he had to kill Satan."

Court saw video of Thorpe sitting in the back of a police car, occasionally weeping as he waited. He appeared to be praying.

"I never meant to kill anyone, Lord. I'm so sorry for all of my sins. I killed Satan and I killed the enemy. You're testing my faith," he said between his tears. "I'm broken."

When asked if his mother was at home he replied: "She should be there. I love her so much."

But then he said he killed her "with a knife" because of "hell and agony."

Paramedic Robert Hawkins testified that despite having blood on his hands, feet and face, Thorpe had no physical injuries. He said Thorpe didn't appear to have used drugs or alcohol, and was calm.

"I asked him what happened. And he had said his mother was possessed by the devil and he was compelled by Jesus to kill her and Jesus was within him."

Thorpe was arrested on a mental health warrant.

Hawkins received a call a short time after the assessment and went to the home where Thorpe and his mother lived.

"I walked through some blood on the way through the living room into the bedroom. The bedroom door was knocked off its hinges," Hawkins said.

"There was blood on the walls, blood on the floor. She was quite literally deceased. There was a large laceration across her neck."

Investigators reported red-stained hand and finger marks on the wall inside the bedroom and on a door. A large red-stained kitchen knife with a piece missing from the middle of the blade was recovered.

Blood swabbed from Thorpe's hands matched the DNA of his mother, court heard.

"There's no question that he was responsible for the injuries. There's no question about that whatsoever," Thorpe's lawyer, Balfour Der, told reporters outside court.

"I would think the evidence is going to be he was suffering from a mental disorder that made him a completely different person."

Der said the actions were out of character and that his client was a "loving son, best friends with his mother and a really bright young man."

The trial is to wrap up Friday.


Bill Graveland is a Calgary-based reporter for The Canadian Press.