Judge: ‘Killing makes no sense’
TORONTO — A Toronto woman who fatally stabbed a complete stranger nearly three years ago was suffering from mental illness so severe that she didn’t know her actions were wrong, a judge ruled Tuesday as he found her not criminally responsible for the attack.
Rohinie Bisesar, who pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, suffered from schizophrenia when she chose to target Rosemarie Junor in December 2015, said Justice John McMahon.
“Because of the schizophrenia, she was incapable of knowing the killing was morally and legally wrong,” the judge said. “This tragic stabbing of an innocent young woman can only be described as a senseless and motiveless killing.”
Junor, 28, died after Bisesar stabbed her in the chest at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto’s financial district. Investigators found no prior link between the two women.
“The bizarre nature of this killing … makes no sense on rational thought,” McMahon said as Junor’s mother and husband cried inside the packed courtroom.
McMahon said Bisesar will now be sent to a secure wing of a mental health hospital in Toronto until she has a hearing with the Ontario Review Board, which decides if and how not criminally responsible patients should be detained.
After the ruling, Junor’s family and friends took turns delivering victim impact statements in which they expressed their devastating loss.
“We prayed and asked God to switch places with her,” Junor’s mother, Rosalind, told the court. “I have anxiety attacks and my heart is broken. My husband is not the same. Rosemarie was his princess.”
At one point, McMahon told Junor’s weeping parents that he wished he had “some magic power” to bring their daughter back. Junor’s mother responded by urging the judge to tell his own children that he loved them.
Other friends and relatives spoke about their love for Junor, calling her Kim and noting that she had married in August 2015, just months before her death.
The newlywed couple had bought a house and invited the entire family over for Thanksgiving, said her brother, Richard Junor.
“Kimberley was my favourite,” he said.
Bisesar, 43, sat in silence throughout the proceedings.
Both Crown and defence lawyers had said she should be found not criminally responsible in Rosemarie Junor’s death.
A forensic psychiatrist who was the only witness to testify at the one-day trial last week concluded Bisesar was in the throes of a psychiatric breakdown due to untreated schizophrenia at the time of the attack.
Court heard that a second psychiatrist agreed with that assessment and both reported that Bisesar suffered from severe hallucinations and delusions that manifested as a voice commanding her to harm someone.
The stabbing — which was captured entirely on surveillance video — took place on Dec. 11, 2015, when Junor, an ultrasound technician, was at the drug store during a break from work.
The trial heard that Bisesar walked into the store just before 3 p.m., went straight up to Junor and stabbed her in the chest with a knife. Bisesar then placed the knife on a counter and walked out of the store. The entire incident took about a minute.
Junor was rushed to a hospital, where she died four days later. That same day, police arrested Bisesar.
Court heard that Bisesar didn’t initially believe Junor was dead, saying she was in hiding.