Killer acquitted by reason of insanity
Timothy Aokuso said, "Are you devil? Are you devil?" as he stabbed Samuela Tuetue twice in the back with a kitchen knife in the early hours of November 4.
Aokuso has now been found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity after a hearing before Justice Rachel Dunningham in the High Court at Christchurch. Name suppression was lifted at the hearing.
Justice Dunningham made an order that Aokuso be detained as a special patient under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act.
He will be held in custody and treated until he is no longer regarded as a threat. Forensic psychiatrist Dr Maxwell Panckhurst reported that the detention order was required "in the interests of the public".
The doctor reported that while hospitalised after the incident, Aokuso had assaulted two nursing staff with punches to the head without warning. After the assault, Aokuso reported that he had seen the staff members nodding which he had interpreted as a message that he must assault them.
The psychiatrists reported that Aokuso believed he was hearing voices at the time of the killing.
Associate Professor Philip Brinded reported: "His mental state at the time of the homicide appears to have been one where he was acutely psychotic, believed he was stabbing the devil and felt it was the right thing to do. In this state of mind I do not believe that Mr Aokuso at the time of the homicide understood the nature and quality of his actions."
Aokuso was living with his family at their home in Redwood at the time of the killing. Tuetue had argued with his wife, Aokuso's mother, before bedtime.
During the night, Aokuso went into his mother's bedroom, in an emotional state. He asked what was wrong with him and said everyone hated him. He said he was angry with Tuetue who he said was the devil. He then went to his sister's room and said he had accepted the devil in him.
The sister was later woken by shouting from the lounge and found Aokuso was yelling and swearing at Mr Tuetue and telling him he was the devil. His mother tried to pull him out of the room but he pushed past and said, "Are you devil? Are you devil?" to Tuetue before stabbing him twice in the back with the kitchen knife. An ambulance was called, but Tuetue was pronounced dead at the scene.
Aokuso told police: "God was speaking to me. It all came together. It was what I was supposed to do." He said he had stabbed the devil, and the devil was his stepfather.
Justice Dunningham said she had to be satisfied that at the time of committing the offence, Aokuso had a disease of the mind and that the disease was operating to such an extent as to make him incapable of knowing that his actions in attacking his stepfather were morally wrong.