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This article was published 24/2/2012 (3449 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A high-profile Winnipeg homicide case has been thrown out of court because the accused -- a 71-year-old Alzheimer's sufferer -- has been deemed unfit to stand trial.
Joe McLeod was charged with manslaughter after 87-year-old Frank Alexander died of head injuries in March 2011. The incident happened following a brief argument between the men at Parkview Place, a personal care home where they were both residents.
"We're very relieved. We're very happy that it's kind of settled," said McLeod's daughter, Faye Jashyn.
"For my mom, it's a big relief. For now, she'll have a little peace of mind."
McLeod's lawyer, Evan Roitenberg, appeared in court Friday to say his client's health has rapidly deteriorated in recent months. McLeod was released on bail several months ago with a condition he reside at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre.
"He cannot instruct counsel. And there does not appear to be anything but continued deterioration in his future," said Roitenberg. He cited an expert report from psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Yaren.
"He's best left in the Selkirk Mental Health Centre getting whatever assistance he can to get through the days until, unfortunately, there are no more days left to get through," said Roitenberg.
Crown attorney Michelle Jules agreed with the medical findings and took no issue with the judge's ruling that McLeod would not be able to go through the judicial process. She noted McLeod wasn't in court Friday because of concerns about how he would react.
"He would likely be very disruptive to proceedings. He has absolutely no orientation to place, time or persons. He would not understand the proceedings," said Jules.
She briefly described the fatal attack, in which McLeod got angry with Alexander because he believed he was "bothering him." McLeod responded by placing both hands on Alexander's chest and shoving him backwards. Alexander fell back, his head striking the tile floor. He began bleeding profusely and was rushed to hospital in critical condition.
He died four days later.
Alexander's son, Michael, said although Friday's decision is no surprise, he still blames the health system for what happened to his father.
"As a family we're still not over this thing," he said. "We're upset and disappointed in the system and the nursing home... and to this day they need to be held accountable."
Alexander's family has demanded a provincial inquiry be called to look into the circumstances that led to his death. Michael Alexander also said they are suing the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the nursing home.
"In our mind's eye, that's a way for them to pay for what they've done and hopefully for the people that are responsible for letting this happen to my dad, it's a form of them being held accountable," he said.
McLeod made headlines in 2010 after he was held at the remand centre for a month for shoving his wife, who needed stitches. The provincial Liberal party championed the plight of the aggressive Alzheimer's patient, who was kept in jail for safety reasons. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority got involved and had McLeod assessed and placed in Parkview Place.
Alexander, A Second World War veteran, was staying in the downtown care home until there was space for him at the Deer Lodge Centre.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.