WARNING: This story contains content some readers may find disturbing.
The month before Blake Schreiner killed his common-law partner, Tammy Brown sent multiple text messages about the man’s paranoia and deteriorating mental health.
The excerpts were read out in court by their recipient, Bryanne Schreiner, the accused’s sister-in-law.
She recalled how Tammy told her about waking up in their River Heights home. Tammy startled Schreiner when she nudged him to get up and care for their young daughter. When he did, the father walked back into the bedroom and held the girl over Tammy’s bed, court heard.
“There. How the f–k do you like it when someone’s screaming in your head all night?” Tammy was asked, according to Bryanne.
The next day, according to a text message transcript, Tammy told Bryanne: “Blake is not okay. I didn’t want to bring anything up. I think he’s in a delicate spot mentally,” Tammy later said she was trying not to do anything “suspicious.”
In subsequent texts, Tammy told Bryanne the paranoia was becoming more apparent to her, but her spouse didn’t see it himself.
“He has had a couple of flashes where he behaves as if I’m doing something to harm him,” Tammy texted.
Bryanne asked if Tammy felt safe.
“It should be okay,” she said, saying she was connecting with programs on how to avoid escalating the situation.
Schreiner stabbed and killed Tammy in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2019. An autopsy revealed she suffered 80 stab wounds. According to his testimony, Schreiner said he thought Tammy, the Illuminati or another secret organization wanted him dead.
His next appointment with a mental health professional was scheduled for Jan. 30.
The defence called the accused’s sister, Melissa Schreiner, to testify. She recalled making a missing person report in December 2018 with Saskatoon police after her brother’s truck was spotted in the Saskatoon airport parking lot.
“We miss you. We love you. We just want you to come home,” Melissa remembered text messaging her brother on Christmas Day.
“If you need help, we’ll get you help.”
During cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Melodi Kujawa, Melissa agreed with the Crown that her brother was feeling depressed about his unemployment, especially since he’d once been the family’s breadwinner.
The witness told court about a conversation Schreiner had about his young son, who was digging a hole. She recalled her brother saying: “it’s like he’s digging a hole for me.”
Schreiner’s mother, Donna, testified about another one of the accused’s interpretations. She said the man saw his son dragging a skipping rope.
The two-year-old “keeps telling me he’s going to hang me with that skipping rope,” Schreiner told her, according to the mother’s testimony.
During a December 2018 visit to his aunt’s home, Schreiner exposed his penis and said “there’s something wrong with my head. I’m not sure what’s going on,” court also heard.
Schreiner has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. Defence lawyer Brad Mitchell confirmed Tuesday that he will be seeking a not criminally responsible ruling.
Justice Ron Mills can deliver the designation if he finds Schreiner carried out the killing while he had a mental disorder that left him “incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act . . . or of knowing that it was wrong,” according to the Criminal Code of Canada.
The trial is scheduled to resume Nov. 9 when testimony from Schreiner’s psychiatrists is expected. Closing arguments are scheduled for Nov. 30