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B.C. man not criminally responsible for killing 'best and only friend'

A Vancouver man who was suffering schizophrenic delusions at the time killed his best friend after believing the friend had poisoned his milk.
Vancouver police announced John Huang had been charged with second-degree murder in December 2020.

A Vancouver man who stabbed and killed “perhaps his best and only friend” has been found not criminally responsible for second-degree murder.

John Huang stabbed and killed Damien Leung in a Vancouver back alley close to the home Leung shared with his partner and her three children, according to a March 7 B.C. Supreme Court decision, released Wednesday, from Justice Andrew Mayer.

“Mr. Huang was deprived of the capacity to make a rational choice about the rightness or wrongness of the act of stabbing Mr. Leung,” Mayer said of the not criminally responsible finding.

The judge said at the time Huang stabbed Leung, he was under the paranoid delusion that Leung had previously poisoned his milk during an evening when the two friends were out for dinner.

“Mr. Leung was Mr. Huang’s friend, and perhaps his best and only friend,” Mayer said in his ruling.

Mayer said medical records and the observations of family indicate that from at least April 2019 Huang had experienced symptoms of mental illness, including paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations, anxiety and depression.

The court heard from two psychiatrists, both of whom testified Huang was suffering from schizophrenia, a form of psychosis.

Both psychiatrists said that when Huang stabbed and killed Leung, “that although he was capable of appreciating the nature and quality of his acts, he lacked the capacity to know the moral wrongfulness of them.”

The killing

The men met in late 2019 and became fast friends.

However, in November 2020, Huang began accusing Leung of poisoning the milk.

“Mr. Leung denied doing so,” Mayer said. “Mr. Huang told Mr. Leung that voices in his head had told him that Mr. Leung had spiked his milk and that Mr. Leung was lying.”

Huang showed up at Leung’s house and tried to get in. The sister of Leung’s common law partner opened an upper window; Huang asked to see Leung, who eventually went outside and joined Huang in the alley.

Court documents show Huang removed a knife from his jacket pocket and stabbed Leung in the chest and abdomen area approximately seven times.

Leung tried to escape but fell to the ground and tried to block Huang with his feet.

Huang briefly stopped and Leung ran into a nearby driveway.

Huang pursued Leung into the driveway and, after briefly continuing his attack, sat down in the driveway and leaned against a shed.

“After a minute he got up and walked back towards the alley holding the bloody knife he had just used to stab Mr. Leung,” Mayer said, noting he paced the alley for a while.

Leung was pronounced dead the following morning and Huang was arrested for murder.

The court heard of multiple situations where Huang had experienced paranoid delusions, that people were going to kill him and of voices in his head.

Mayer ordered that Huang be confined to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital pending final disposition in the case.

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