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Man accused of killing North York woman not criminally responsible, judge finds

A judge has found that the Toronto man charged with the second-degree murder of a woman in an apartment hallway was not criminally responsible of the offence “on account of mental disorder.”

On Nov. 22, 2020, an apartment building on Rowena Drive was rocked by the sound of screams from a 41-year-old woman saying she was being stabbed.

One witness testified in the trial that he saw Wadea Al-Lala stabbing a woman as many as 16 or 17 times.

“She wasn’t moving anymore, she wasn’t saying anything, either,” the neighbour told a Crown prosecutor during the trial.

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During the trial, defence lawyers said they would bring an application to find Al-Lala not criminally responsible. He pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge.

Outside the court in April 2023, friends and family of the woman who was killed, Maryanne Blandizzi, said asking to be found not criminally responsible was “a cop-out.”

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“To hear all this, what was done to her is horrible. She didn’t deserve any of this,” Lila Blandizzi, her mother, said, remembering her only child as a woman who was beautiful in every way.

The judge-alone trial heard evidence that Al-Lala was “displaying psychotic symptoms in the absence of drug use” and that he was “the perfect age to be struck by schizophrenia.”

The trial also heard he was under immense stress, facing deportation.

One expert told the court he felt Al-Lala was suffering from schizophrenia, while another said he could not rule out the possibility.

“The index offence was fuelled by a psychotic episode from on by Mr. Al-Lala’s mental disorder and his ingestion of drugs,” the judge wrote.

Al-Lala was found not criminally responsible in a verdict released on Friday, Jan 19.

— with files from Global News’ Catherine McDonald

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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