Man accused of killing his wife starts yelling in court; mental health questioned
By: Mike McIntyre | Winnipeg Free Press | May 14, 2015
Serious mental health concerns are being raised about a Winnipeg man accused of killing his wife.
Teklu Tesfamichael Mebrahtu, 34, appeared in court Thursday for his lawyers to request a further forensic assessment, saying they believe he may be unfit to stand trial for the 2012 homicide.
Alche Fsehaye Kidane, 34, was stabbed to death inside the couple’s apartment suite at 372 Assiniboine Ave. They had just immigrated from Africa only months earlier after being sponsored by a cousin, who lived in Winnipeg.
Thursday’s hearing was interrupted on several occasions when Mebrahtu began screaming in court.
‘I didn’t kill my wife. I didn’t kill my wife. I didn’t kill my wife," he yelled at one point.
Sheriff’s officers were able to briefly calm him down enough for the Crown to say they agreed with the defence concerns.
"Canadians are bitches," Mebrahtu then started yelling. There were also several inaudible comments, which mainly seemed directed towards his lawyers.
"It would appear I don’t enjoy Mr. Mebrahtu’s confidence," said defence counsel John McAmmond.
The case has now been adjourned until next month to allow McAmmond more time to gather evidence about his client’s mental status. A doctor had previously found Mebrahtu was fit to stand trial, and the case had been set to be heard this month. The only issue, lawyers said, was going to be whether Mebrahtu was of sound enough mind at the time of the deadly attack to be held criminally responsible.
However, now the question of fitness is once again in play. If found unfit, Mebrahtu would remain in a mental health facility until his condition improved enough where he was deemed to be able to instruct lawyers and understand the legal process.
If ultimately found not criminally responsible, Mebrahtu would continue in the care of mental health officials rather than go to prison.
As many as 300 members of Winnipeg’s Eritrean community attended Kidane’s funeral and rallied together to support her grieving family, many of whom remain back home.