In Vancouver, Canada, a twenty-three year old man has been sentenced to four years in jail for shooting dead his mother at the age of fourteen.
The man is known only by his initials J.A.P. in Supreme Court documents. He and his family were previously Krishna devotees, but at the time of the killing they had since stopped practicing and became disaffiliated with ISKCON.
The man told the court that he and his four siblings had lived with their parents on a rural property outside Hope, B.C. Ruled by a controlling father and drug-addicted mother, their home was a dysfunctional and violent one. The father was especially violent towards his two oldest daughters, who rebelled against his controlling tactics, and his son often took part in these attacks. Mercifully, they ended in 1998 when the girls left home and were placed under foster care by the Ministry of Children and Families.
The man's relationship with his mother was also unstable and violent. The court heard that the mother was a manic-depressive who abused medications, taking large amounts of Tylenol 3 and Gravol. She would leave home for days at a time, once disappearing for an entire year, during which time she lived in the Philippines with another man. She returned home pregnant with a baby girl, whom she gave up for adoption.
During his trial, the man told the court that he began to wish his mother was dead so that she would not cause further embarrassment to the family. One day in January 1999, he convinced his mother to follow him into some woods near their house, telling her that he’d found some drugs there. He then confronted her with a .45-calibre handgun.
Later, he told police: “All these emotions came out. I was crying. I was flipped out. I was upset. I didn't want to do it but it was just right there, and so finally, I just pulled out the weapon and emptied it.”
He fired eight bullets in total, three of which hit his mother. When he left her in the woods, she was still alive, but dead by the time he returned. He buried her in a shallow grave at the site, telling his father that she'd left home again.
Years passed before the man finally told his sister what he’d done. He was arrested in 2006 following an undercover police operation coordinated with her help.
During the sentencing hearing in March this year, Crown counsel argued the man should serve the longer ten-year jail term of an adult offender, suggesting the case had some features of planning and pre-meditation.
But Justice William Grist said he wasn't satisfied an adult sentence was necessary to hold the accused accountable for the crime. "This offence was very much a product of the dysfunctional family background and the defendant's dependency and reduced level of maturity," the judge wrote.