Edmonton

Edmonton man who stabbed mother to death was in 'cannabis-induced psychosis,' court told

Jason Dickout, 33, will have to wait until the new year to be sentenced for stabbing his mother to death, due to a delayed forensic assessment.

Manslaughter sentencing hearing delayed until new year

Kathy Dickout was stabbed to death in her Belmont neighbourhood home in April 2017. (Sam Martin/CBC)

Jason Dickout was likely experiencing acute cannabis-induced psychosis the day he stabbed his mother to death in her kitchen at her Edmonton home, psychiatrists say.

Originally charged with second-degree murder, Dickout pleaded guilty last November to manslaughter. 

A sentencing hearing was scheduled to begin Monday, but Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench Justice Vital Ouellette was told a forensic assessment ordered last November won't be completed until the end of this year, due to a clerical error.

"I'm not happy about it, because Mr. Dickout is in custody," defence lawyer Graham Johnson told the court. "It's been almost a year since the guilty plea was entered."

Johnson said psychological assessments done shortly after Dickout's arrest indicated possible underlying mental health issues. For that reason, the defence was willing to wait for a more complete forensic assessment to be done.

Dickout spent Easter weekend in April 2017 at his parents' house in northeast Edmonton, according to an agreed statement of facts.

On Monday evening, after his father left for work and his mother went to buy groceries, Dickout "smoked two inhalations of dried marijuana" with his sister, Ashley, the court document said. 

He almost immediately began "exhibiting signs of erratic and anxious behaviour, making other animalistic noises and talking nonsensically."

His sister gave him some of her prescribed cannabis oil preparation, hoping to calm him down.

Dickout had never consumed cannabis oil before.

About two hours later, the court document said, Ashley frantically called 911 to report she had just seen her brother, screaming at the top of his lungs, repeatedly stab their mother in the neck with a a six-inch knife taken from the butcher block.

'All for a laugh'

When police arrived, Dickout was naked from the waist down and had blood on his face, his T-shirt and his bare feet.

Kathy Dickout, 53, was already dead. The knife wounds had severed her jugular vein and carotid artery.

Blood had pooled around her head and body. A knife covered in blood and a pair of men's pyjama bottoms lay on the floor beside her.

Jason Dickout continued to behave erratically, switching between screams and hysterical laughter. 

Once he was taken into custody, he continued to scream and yell.

"This was all for a laugh!" he said at one point.

Hours later, at police headquarters, he told officers: "I killed my mom. She was so beautiful. She was always thinking of me. My mom deserves to live." 

At one point, he stared at a male detective and shouted, "Mom is that you? I'm sorry mom!"

He then became hysterical and began screaming. 

Dickout was certified under the Mental Health Act and was transferred to Alberta Hospital. Doctors noted his self-induced psychosis was temporary and the symptoms faded after a couple of days. 

He remains in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre. A sentencing hearing likely won't be held until early next year.

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