He Killed in US and Canada, but the Verdicts Were Very Different

Glen Race has a history of schizophrenia, is now at Attica
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2016 11:07 AM CDT
Glen Race's mugshot after being apprehended near the Mexican border.   (US Customs and Border Patrol)

(Newser) – Not in dispute: Glen Race killed two men in his native Canada in 2007, then a US man at a remote cabin in New York state as he made his way south toward Mexico. Also not in dispute: Race, 26 at the time of the killings, has a history of schizophrenia dating back to his early 20s, with multiple hospitalizations and a documented downward spiral before his killing spree. Race stood trial in the US for the murder there, and in Canada for his killings there, but as the Toronto Star explains, the outcomes could not have been more different. In Canada, he was declared not legally responsible. In fact, it was a slam dunk, with the prosecutors agreeing after an in-depth psychiatric analysis. In the US, however, Race was sentenced to life without parole at Attica, where he is now incarcerated.

The two nations have near identical laws regarding mentally ill criminals, but Race's story "shows how a person found legally insane on one side of the border can be deemed perfectly culpable on the other," writes Amy Dempsey. The problem in the US was a defense strategy that was at least chaotic, if not botched, as Race's family asserts. Race's lawyer asked for a continuance late, saying he'd been too swamped to review newly presented evidence, and when the judge denied his request, he abruptly changed the defense from insanity to he-didn't-do-it. That backfired badly. Race's family is fighting for a new trial, ultimately hoping to have him transferred to a mental institution in Canada. Click for the full story, which includes an interview with Race—he refuses to believe he is mentally ill, a hallmark of schizophrenia. (Read more mental illness stories.)

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