Daniel Goodridge found not criminally responsible for work camp killings

Daniel Goodridge, 31 has been found not criminally responsible for the first-degree murders of work camp employees Dave Derksen and Hally Dubois. He will be transferred to a psychiatric hospital rather than a prison.

‘The events ... are a tragedy on every level and for everyone involved,' judge says

Daniel Goodridge, 31, has been found not criminally responsible for the murders of two work camp employees on June 30, 2015. (Jim Stokes )

A former cook has been found not criminally responsible for stabbing two co-workers to death three years ago at a remote northern Alberta work camp.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Ken Nielsen struggled at times to compose himself Thursday morning as he delivered his 31-page decision in a Grande Prairie courtroom.

"The events of June 30, 2015, at the work camp near Fox Creek are a tragedy on every level and for everyone involved," Nielsen said.

Hally Dubois and Dave Derksen "were truly innocent victims," the judge said. "They define being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

On the night of the killings, Daniel Goodridge heard voices in his head that told him to kill or be killed.

Derksen, 37, was the first one Goodridge attacked with a knife. Derksen was stabbed 70 times. After he was dead, Goodridge continued to mutilate his body.

Camp cook Hally Dubois, 50, was stabbed 11 times after she tried to convince Goodridge to drop the knife.

Dave Derksen, left, and Hally Dubois were stabbed to death at a work camp outside Fox Creek on June 30, 2015 (Supplied )

"His desire was to slaughter anyone in his vicinity," the judge said. "He believed doing so was necessary to defend himself and to get rid of the angry voices he was hearing."

When RCMP arrived, Goodridge refused to drop the knife and lunged at a constable. Officers fired a dozen shots and wounded Goodridge.

Afterwards, Goodridge told a paramedic he killed someone because he "just wanted some excitement."

A psychologist and psychiatrist testified for the Crown that they believed Goodridge was psychotic at the time of the attacks and should not be held criminally responsible for his actions.

The blood-soaked scene of the deadly battle between Dave Derksen and Daniel Goodridge. (RCMP/Court exhibit )

"Having reviewed the reports of the experts and heard their testimony, I conclude that Mr. Goodridge did not know that his acts ... were wrong," Nielsen said.

"For half of his life, Mr. Goodridge clearly suffered from mental health issues. Likely, for a combination of reasons, he did not get the help that he so desperately needed."

Impact on victims' families

Goodridge, 31, showed no reaction when the judge declared him not criminally responsible. There were tears among the families of the victims, who attended every day of the trial.

Prosecutor Steven Hinkley told CBC News it was difficult case for everyone involved.

"The facts are very gruesome, very unusual," Hinkley said. "And perhaps hardest for the families involved, very random."

He said the randomness of the attacks will likely always make the families wonder why their loved ones became victims.

The judge ordered Goodridge transferred to Alberta Hospital, Edmonton. Within the next 45 days, his case will be reviewed by the Alberta Review Board to determine where he should be placed. Ultimately it will be up to the board to determine if it is safe to return Goodridge to the community.

 "There certainly is an understanding that Mr. Goodridge needs help and will need help in the long term," Hinkley said after speaking to the victims' families.

Defence lawyer Anna Konye said in a statement her client is thankful the judge paid careful attention to the evidence.

"This was an enormously sad case," the statement said. "Our thoughts go out to the families of the deceased and all others affected by this matter."

About the Author

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston