Warning: this story contains details some readers may find disturbing.
Saskatoon man Kevin Hollman has been found not criminally responsible (NCR) for killing his mother – a woman he considered his best friend and hero.
A psychiatrist has determined the 35-year-old had acute schizophrenia when he stabbed his mother Debbie Hollman seven times in the head and neck, along with 25 times in the torso. He also stabbed his father Gary Hollman 11 times. Gary survived.
Police charged Kevin with second-degree murder and attempted murder.
“His most important relationship was with Debbie. Kevin relied on Debbie for everything, including for support for his mental health issues,” said Crown prosecutor Aaron Martens, reading from the agreed statement of facts presented in court.
To be found not criminally responsible, a person must have been suffering from a mental disorder that rendered them unable of knowing what they’re doing while committing a crime or understanding that their actions were wrong.
A person found to be NCR is then held in a secure mental health facility, and assessed by a review to board to determine if or when they are no longer considered a risk to the public.
Court heard that on the evening of Jan. 5, Kevin and Gary watched a hockey game on TV before each went to bed. Around 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 6, Debbie and Gary awoke to the sound a commotion in the downstairs portion of their home on a cul-de-sac in the Lakeview neighbourhood.
Debbie went downstairs. Moments later, Gary heard screaming and found Debbie “profusely bleeding in the kitchen,” the statement of facts reads. Kevin had left the house.
As his father called 911, Kevin came back into the home and attacked him.
“Gary described Kevin as looking like he was possessed, and Gary felt he was unable to communicate or reason with Kevin,” Martens said.
Gary ran outside, only to be attacked again by Kevin. Gary broke free, ran into the house and locked the door behind him.
At 2:07 a.m., police arrived at the home. Court heard it took 17 Taser discharges to get Kevin handcuffed and under control. During his struggle with police, he made incomprehensible statements and also expressed love for his mother.
Police found a serrated kitchen knife in the cul-de-sac, along with other knives inside the kitchen.
Hollman continued to struggle as he was placed in the back of a police vehicle. Court heard he “muttered gibberish,” acted erratically and gave nonsensical answers to questions he was asked.
“It appeared Kevin was having a contentious conversation between two people by himself,” the agreed statement of facts read.
Kevin told police he’d taken hallucinogenic mushrooms and unidentified drops he purchased online. His level of intoxication remains unknown.
In the months before the incident, court heard Kevin experienced hallucinations, and became unable to tell the difference between them and reality. His delusions led to paranoia in which he felt targeted by people, that cell phone towers were shooting radiation at him, that aliens were going to take over the world and that psychiatric help was a trick by aliens who were out to get him.
Kevin had previously been treated for anxiety and depression, though court heard he did not generally follow treatment plans recommended by doctors. He also began suffering severe headaches six or seven years ago.
In an attempt to self-medicate his headaches, Kevin used heroin, mushrooms, crystal meth, cannabis and alcohol, according to the agreed statement of facts. In addition to schizophrenia, a psychiatrist also diagnosed him with substance abuse disorder.
He was first admitted to a psychiatric facility in 2016 while living in Victoria. His mother travelled there to help him, eventually bringing Kevin back to Saskatoon.
“Kevin has maintained that he loved his parents and that his mother was his best friend and hero,” Martens said.
In 2017, Kevin lived at Blackstrap Lake, and became more anti-social, while continuing to seek treatment for his headaches. In September 2020, he essentially barricaded himself inside the home using sheet metal, leading his parents to request a mental health warrant. It’s also when he moved in with Debbie and Gary.
In a joint victim impact statement, the Hollman family told Kevin they love him unconditionally.
“This a victim impact statement, and you are also a victim. You have endured more than any person should have to,” they said.
“You’ve found strength to survive each day. The strength of (Debbie) runs through you. Her love for you is endless.”
In a tearful apology, Kevin spoke from the prisoner’s box.
“I have two of the best parents in the world. I love my father with all my heart, and I love my mom more than words can describe,” he said.
Justice Mona Dovell accepted a joint-submission from the Crown and defence seeking an NCR designation.
Speaking to reporters, defence lawyer Brad Mitchell said his client “is in a far better spot now” in terms of his mental health.
Dovell made a recommendation that Kevin be transferred to Saskatchewan Hospital as soon as possible.