Damien Christopher Starrett was found guilty of killing his one-year-old son Ares Starrett and assaulting another child in a Fort Saskatchewan home on Nov. 23, 2019.
More than two-dozen people packed into an Edmonton courtroom Wednesday, one woman clutching a teddy bear to hear the verdict.
Starrett was accused with killing his one-year-old son Ares Starrett and assaulting another child in a Fort Saskatchewan home on Nov. 23, 2019.
While providing a summary of his findings, the judge said the boy was “punched, kicked, stomped in the head,” and died as a result of multiple head injuries.
During a judge-alone trial in March and April, Starrett argued he was not criminally responsible and that he was in a state of automatism when the attacks on the children happened.
The judge said about a year after the incident Starrett came out with a story that he was “teleported and attacked by a shadow creature,” and that he was trying to protect the children.
The judge said the story evolved over time and was an attempt “to rationalize his behaviour.”
The court heard Starrett has a long history of back pain, insomnia and illicit drug use including cocaine, Percocet and that he was going through heroin withdrawl at the time of the incident.
“He also admitted the use of Percocet within hours of Ares death,” the judge said.
“He was experiencing other stressors including financial and relationship issues.”
While the judge said the evidence was helpful in understanding Starrett, the judge believes he became overwhelmed by his situation and acted voluntarily.
“I do not accept Mr. Starrett’s statement that he was not aware of what was happening,” he said.
Starrett was found guilty of manslaughter and common assault.
“I am satisfied the Crown has proven without a doubt, that Mr. Starrett’s actions caused Ares death,” the judge said.
After the verdict and judge had left the courtroom one man began yelling at Starrett, “You’re a coward, bro. What you did to that little boy,” he said.
Starrett’s bail has been revoked until sentencing.