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Court orders admitted serial killer Jeremy Skibicki to undergo clinical assessment by psychiatrist

Warning: This article contains details that may be disturbing to readers. Discretion is advised.

A psychiatrist will conduct a clinical assessment of admitted serial killer Jeremy Skibicki to determine if he was suffering from a mental disorder when he killed four women.

As Skibicki’s trial continued Tuesday, Crown prosecutors asked that their expert psychiatrist be allowed to conduct a mental assessment of the accused to determine whether he was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the offence.

Crown prosecutors argued the assessment is warranted under the Criminal Code of Canada because the accused has put his mental capacity for criminal intent into issue.

The 37-year-old accused has admitted he killed four Indigenous women: Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and a fourth, unidentified woman. Indigenous leaders have given her the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe or Buffalo Woman.

Skibicki has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder. His defence lawyers are arguing he should be found not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

When asked for a response to this request for an assessment, defence counsel Leonard Tailleur told the court he is “naturally opposed,” but could not offer up any legal arguments against the request.

“Is that the best argument you have?” Chief Justice Glenn Joyal asked.

“That’s the best argument,” Tailleur responded.

“It’s not a good argument,” Joyal responded, ultimately granting the court order.

Skibicki is set to undergo the assessment early next week.

DNA expert testifies about samples found in Skibicki’s apartment

Earlier in court on Tuesday, Crown prosecutors called Florence Celestin, a forensic DNA specialist with the RCMP’s National Forensic Laboratory Services, as a witness.

She tested the DNA samples collected inside Skibicki’s apartment.

Celestin testified the DNA of Contois, Harris, and Myran was found on items in Skibicki’s apartment – such as shoes, a combat knife, and swabs from his garbage bin.

However, Celestin said in more than 80 exhibits provided for DNA testing, only one had DNA from the unidentified victim – Buffalo Woman.

It was found on the collar of a reversible Baby Phat jacket, which police believe belonged to Buffalo Woman.

Skibicki later sold the woman’s jacket online which police retrieved from the buyer.

A photo shows one side of a Baby Phat jacket similar to one Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman, police believe she was wearing. A forensic DNA expert called as a witness in the trial of admitted serial killer Jeremy Skibicki said the woman’s DNA was found on the jacket she was wearing, but efforts to identify her have not been successful. (Winnipeg police handout)

“From all up until then eighty-some exhibits, nothing else that you sampled came back to the (Buffalo Woman) sample. That sample that came from the Baby Phat jacket is the only (Buffalo Woman) sample,” Crown Prosecutor Chris Vanderhooft asked.

“Correct,” Celestin responded.

She spoke about the efforts made by police and the forensic DNA team to identify the sample, such as comparing it to the parents of missing persons and various DNA databases.

The court heard none of these efforts have revealed Buffalo Woman’s identity.

DNA of woman missing since March 2022 found in Skibicki’s apartment

Celestin said, in an effort to identify Buffalo Woman, she was sent more than a dozen cigarette butts for DNA testing.

While none matched with Buffalo Woman’s DNA, Celestin said she discovered one of the DNA samples belonged to Ashlee Shingoose.

Shingoose was last seen in downtown Winnipeg in March 2022. She is still considered missing.

Celestin also found several other unidentified female DNA profiles on the items in Skibicki’s apartment. However, the court heard DNA testing cannot reveal how or when the DNA was left on the samples.

Crown prosecutors previously told reporters they do not believe at this time there are any more victims in the case.

The trial continues on Wednesday. 

There is a support line available for those impacted by missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S+ people: 1-844-413-6649.

The Hope for Wellness Hotline for Indigenous people, with support in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut, is also available 24/7 in Canada at 1-855-242-3310.

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