Just an Excuse: Any Cannabis User Knows This isn’t Possible

by Raegan Castillo-Fontana on November 27, 2019


Back in August of 2011, a murder was blamed on “cannabis-induced psychosis” in Canada. When I say blamed on, I mean the court of law in Canada heard from the defense, allowed by the prosecutor, and entered into the defense with a guilty plea, basically blamed cannabis as to what “spurred the brutal death of 67-year-old John Kehl, by his then 31-year-old son Adam.”

Did I hear that right? This murderer, this knife wielding crazy person, who stabbed and then beheaded his own father, blamed smoking too much marijuana for his actions? Yes, I did hear that correctly. Canada charged this killer with manslaughter and 5 years jail less the 23 months and 14 days he has been in custody. 

So what happened? How did we get to the point “that we use so much pot that a murder was inevitable?” During proceedings, crown attorney (prosecutor) Lyndsay Jeanes walked the court through the weeks leading up to the horrific murder. The defendant, named Adam, had returned to Ontario to visit family and friends and was staying at the family’s lake cottage in Kahshe Lake a few weeks before the murder. It’s reported that Adam exhibited agitated and aggressive behavior throughout the time leading up to the crime. 

Reportedly, Adam was a heavy cannabis user, consuming the substance throughout the week, and twice before the incident. He was with 14 other people that weekend at the lake cottage, including his father, who, when the guests began to arrive, he told them that something was wrong with his son but to please not address it with him directly as he found it upsetting, and thanked them for their support. 

Already, something was not right. This trend continued around 2 pm, when Adam became angry at a friend attending the lunch, and shoved him out of the screened-in gazebo where they were all eating. After being shoved, the guest was then punched in the head by Adam. Following this, he went to a “bunkie,” or guest house, and came out a short time later with a large knife. If you think I’m building this up as a joke, you’re sorely mistaken. This actually happened. 

When Adam emerged carrying a big knife, his father, John, tried to intervene and was stabbed. He fell face down on the ground. Adam then flipped him over and stabbed him repeatedly in the torso and then in the head, before decapitating him with a knife. The scene was horrific, and guests fled to barricade themselves in their own cottages. Across the bay, neighbors say they heard howling sounds, like that of an animal. Guests saw Adam stabbing, sawing, and even biting the body of his father, John. 

The most disturbing part of the altercation is that Adam picked up his father’s head and ran across the shoreline of the lake, tossing it, and a knife, into the water. He then ran off a dock and shouted the name of his then-girlfriend, and screamed, “I love you, I am free.” Police found him rocking next to his father’s headless body. They shot him with 2 rubber bullets, but he seemingly didn’t even notice. When they asked him his name, he reportedly replied in a deep, unrecognizable voice, saying, “Adam, the devil.”

In custody, he admitted he was aware of what he’d done. He became emotional and apologetic in his story, saying he never wanted to cause harm and he didn’t mean to. The 32-year-old spoke with poise to the court, telling of his “terrifying and traumatic experience,” even making eye contact with many as he named individuals. 

He went on to talk about how much he loved his dad and that he prayed he his father was at peace. The judge, Justice Fuest accepted this apology as “sincere and heartfelt” followed by accepting the joint submission of five years jail, less the nearly 2 years he’d served up to now. 

One of the last and most ridiculous statements in Adam’s whole ordeal: “[Adam] was unaware cannabis could lead to such a thing and, had he known, he would never have started, and he commits to his penitentiary sentence and after his release, to his recovery.” It was a promise he made to himself, the court, and those he loves. 

As I previously mentioned, I am still not sure how this whole thing is possible. Did anyone else get a serial-killer vibe from the behavior of this murderer? Because I certainly did. Or maybe he just smoked pot everyday, like over 75 percent of the world, and for whatever reason, decided to horrifically murder his father...Not likely!

Fact of the matter is that, regardless of why he really killed his father, he used “cannabis-induced psychosis” as a defense, almost like using insanity, or something like that. So he really isn’t using facts to help his case per say, only statistics. And it worked. Canada’s courts found this a justifiable excuse to murder someone without reprocussion. It reduced his sentence from what should have been worthy of capital punishment, to time served, 5 years in jail. He’s already served 24 months. 

The message this gives the public is that cannabis is a flexible scapegoat, working for you when it’s good for you, and disposable when it becomes inconvenient. The truth is, society doesn’t know up from down. Since studies about cannabis is ongoing, it’s an easy target for blame in medical questions. The advice here is to read, read again, research to verify. And research again. To believe the first thing that the media throws out there is no longer a safe bet, especially in the field of cannabis.


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