EDMONTON — A jury has found an Edmonton man guilty of first-degree murder for stabbing two co-workers to death in a bloody attack at a Loblaws grocery warehouse.
Jayme Pasieka, 32, was also been convicted on four counts of attempted murder and four counts of aggravated assault in the attack three years ago.
Pasieka looked blankly ahead as the jury declared the 10 guilty verdicts in court.
Relatives of the victims hugged, cried and held hands. One woman whispered "yes" as she clenched her fist.
Loblaws' employees, some wearing blue hoodies with the corporation's logo, sat in quiet support of their colleagues who were killed or wounded in the stabbings.
Pasieka faces two automatic life sentences.
Crown prosecutor Kim Goddard said she will consider asking that Pasieka have no parole eligibility for 50 years.
"With a jury trial you never know what to expect but I am sure the families are satisfied with the verdict," she said outside court.
Thierno Bah, 41, and Fitzroy Harris, 50, were killed in the stabbing attack. Four other men were injured.
Much of the case focused on whether Pasieka, who has schizophrenia, was capable of planning the attack and intended to kill his co-workers.
He testified in his own defence and said he had given up on life, was hearing voices in his head and hoped that if he stabbed people he would get the help he needed.
Defence lawyer Peter Royal said during closing arguments that Pasieka had severe schizophrenia and told police after the attack that he didn't plan to kill and that he felt sad about what happened.
Goddard told the jury that Pasieka's mental-health symptoms were mild and evidence showed he planned to end his own suffering by killing others.
The jury heard that on the day of the attack Pasieka wore a military-style vest, dressed all in black and left his Edmonton home armed with two knives.
Before going to work, he went to a store at West Edmonton Mall to buy two extra knives and had a normal conversation with a clerk. He testified that he purchased the additional knives in case the first two became dull.
When Pasieka arrived at the Loblaws warehouse, he signed in for his shift and put on a sweatshirt to hide the weapons.
Goddard said Pasieka then walked slowly toward a group of co-workers before stabbing people multiple times, aiming for the chest and head.
A forensic psychiatrist testified that Pasieka would have understood that inflicting severe injury on someone would have led to death.
The psychiatrist also said Pasieka was capable of exercising free will and making choices.
Goddard said this trial was not the first time that she has prosecuted someone with schizophrenia that used their mental health as part of their defence.
She said such cases are more complex, but each is different.
Goddard said many people with the mental disorder seek help from family and physicians.
"The diagnosis of schizophrenia in and of itself — it is scary if you don't know about it, but if you know people with schizophrenia, you realize that there are people who are able to function, who are able to get help," she said.
"Unfortunately, Mr. Pasieka did not take any of those steps."
A date for the sentencing hearing, including victim impact statements, has not been set.
John Cotter, The Canadian Press