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REPORTING · 21st January 2008
Merv Ritchie
Stephanie Joy Donnelly was not the intended victim, the Court Room was told Monday, January 21, 2008. Her father, Blair Donnelly, had been determined to kill his wife Patricia. In a shocking and extremely disturbing statement of facts presented to the Court, the Crown and the Defence presented the sequence of events and an hourly accounting of the behaviour, thoughts and activities of Donnelly on November 23, 2006, the day he stabbed his daughter in the heart three times and slit her throat.

Starting at 5:00 am Donnelly began praying and studying the bible, acting out of sorts, and interpreting events of the morning as a message from God that he needed to kill his wife. He had walked around the home in his wife’s presence with a knife hidden inside his jacket. Due to his apparent strange behaviour his wife asked his pastor to attend their home and they prayed together asking for guidance. Donnelly did not disclose his intentions or homicidal thoughts during this meeting.

After his wife left for work Donnelly visited with friends and had what has been referred to as unusual conversations and Donnelly continued to have delusions and interpreted events as instructions from God. At one point a neighbours dog carrying a toy skunk to him repeatedly, was taken to mean that “God thinks I’m a skunk” for not following through with killing his wife.

His daughter had been at a hair dressing appointment and walked home in the early evening at just after 8:00 pm and at 8:45 the hairdresser returned Stephanie’s eye glasses to her that she had left behind. It is detailed in the submission to the Court that Stephanie had been using MSN messenger to communicate with her friends after 9:30 pm and her mother arrived home at approximately 10:00 pm to find her body lying in a pool of blood on the living room floor.

The statement of fact details that when Donnelly arrived home and found his daughter at the computer he took it as another sign that God really wanted him to kill Stephanie and if he didn’t he would have to kill his entire family.

At midnight Donnelly was found lying face down in front of the Church he attended where he was praying. The trial continues.

Who's really at fault?
Comment by Marg Johnson on 4th February 2008
Oh my! Surely, it is not God's fault that this man ended his daughter's life. For any of us to believe that God or religion or "English-Canada's" culture or even that immigrants may be the reason for tragedies such as this, then perhaps we need to take some time to question why we point our fingers in that direction.

While we are in the finger-pointing frame of mind here, why don't we take a good, hard look at society in general. After all, society has always played a constant and vital role in the way we think, how we choose what to eat, what we watch on tv and what we wear, what type of car we drive, what church we attend, and even how we look down on others. It is saddening that our "educated" human race to this date still continues to frown on mental illness, to the point where one may never seek help lest they be labled as a mental patient.

Let's be honest here...if you were an employer and had an application in front of you that indicated an applicant was not working for several months due to a mental illness, would that applicant be considered for the job, or would the resume be promptly tossed into the trash.

From eating disorders, to neat freaks (we all know them), from obsessive disorders to phobias (we all know people who have these), from PTSD'ing to dementia (again...we all know people like this), we all host some sort of mental inadequacy. Let's take some time here - any one in YOUR family that counts steps or constantly rechecks door locks in the house, or won't eat properly lest they gain weight, or vacuums the carpet in perfect lined formation, or uses disinfectant soap every time they shake hands with someone, or can't get on a bike cuzza a childhood bike accident, or ...or...or.

Welcome to earth. Mental illness is everywhere! HA HA!!! It's all around us, people! Yet we deny and push away and still label those who have the courage to seek help.

It is high time that society take on a more productive and supportive role when one displays recognized patterns that are not of "normal development". Good grief ! Let's not let another child die like this. Let's help break the stigma of mental illness and move forward in more supportive fashion without blaming God or Religion or Immigrants.
Double standards
Comment by Eric Demha on 29th January 2008
Hmm ... it turns out that immigrant fathers don't have the monopoly on murdering their daughters. I wonder why the media didn't ask whether there is something about English-Canada's culture or religion that led to this tragedy.
getting real help is important
Comment by C. Arnold on 21st January 2008
I agree with the post about how important it is to seek out real professional help. Religion / praying does not cure or help mental illness.

It is sad to think if the outcome could have been different if someone had encouraged this man t0 seek help from a mental health professional instead of from his God, who obviously couldn't help.

Mental illness comes in many forms.
Comment by Marg Johnson on 21st January 2008
It appears Mr. Donnelly may have been a truly tormented man. What a shame his inner thoughts destroyed his own life and the lives of the people he would have normally given his own life for, if not for the voices in his head.

Mental illness does not need to get to the point where one might further self-destruction and commit murderous acts. There is help available both for those living the illness and for family members suffering as a result. Consult your local listings under the Municipal Government pages in your Telephone Book under Health Authorities. In Terrace the Adult Mental Health # is 250 638 2202.

Let's support each other in this regard, after all, I hear that 1 out of 3 people in Canada host SOME sort of mental illness. Hmmm...let's see...I have 5 people in my family, I work with 33 people in the office, I run into ~100 people a day in town, so that means...