Author Topic: Sarah Nickerson (53) - Jan 8, 2012 - MURDER  (Read 4830 times)


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Sarah Nickerson (53) - Jan 8, 2012 - MURDER
« on: March 06, 2012, 12:47:12 PM »

Sooke man charged with murder remains in custody
By Erin McCracken - Victoria News
Published: January 12, 2012 3:00 PM
Updated: January 12, 2012 3:44 PM

The man accused of the second-degree murder of a 53-year-old Sooke woman is now working his way through the legal system.

Alex Conte, 21, appeared via video conferencing in a Victoria courtroom Thursday morning from the Vancouver Island Regional Correction Centre in Saanich.

A publication ban enacted at the start of the court proceedings protects much of what was discussed before provincial court Judge Susan Wishart.

Wishart scheduled Conte to appear by video conferencing at the Wester Communities Courthouse in Colwood on Jan. 19 at 10:30 a.m.

In the meantime the Sooke man will be assessed by a forensic psychiatrist "to see whether he is grounded in reality to retain and instruct counsel," Conte's defence lawyer, Bill Heflin, told the *****News outside the courtroom.

Wearing a dark-coloured vest-like garment, Conte sat through the proceedings on a bench. His bare arms were constrained behind his back while faced the camera.

The accused's dark blonde hair was mussed, and facial hair covered his jawline.

Conte spoke only a few words when answering questions posed by his lawyer.

Sooke RCMP officers responded to a 911 call for help that came in on Sunday (Jan. 8th) at 3:30 p.m. from a home in the Park Village community of Sooke, at 2615 Otter Point Rd.

Upon their arrival, investigators found a woman's body. Conte was arrested at the scene.

Investigators remain tight-lipped about the case, though have said the victim and accused were known to each other. The nature of their relationship is being kept under wraps.

Police have said the accused is known to them.

The victim's identity is not being disclosed until after an autopsy is completed, said Cpl. Annie Linteau, media relations officer with the RCMP's Vancouver-based E Division.

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit is leading the investigation, with support from the Sooke RCMP detachment.

Forensic identification specialists wrapped up their work at the crime scene by Thursday morning, Linteau said, adding that police have since vacated the premises.

Conte, who attended Edward Milne Community School, is known for his skateboarding abilities as a teen.

This is the first homocide of 2012 on the Island.

-with files from Pirjo Raits

Autopsy scheduled for 53-year-old woman found dead in Sooke

By Cindy E Harnett, Victoria Times Colonist
January 10, 2012

Members of the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, with assistance from Sooke RCMP conduct a homicide investigation at Park Village trailer park, at #2615 Otter Point Road in Sooke on January 9, 2012
Photograph by: Adrian Lam ,

An autopsy to positively identify a 53-year-old woman found dead in Sooke on Sunday is being scheduled.

Alex Conte, 21, is charged with second-degree murder, following a tele-bail hearing before a judge Monday. He is due back in Victoria provincial court on Thursday.

Sarah Nickerson, 53, is the deceased, according to court records. Police have not yet released her name pending the positive identification and outcome of the autopsy. That has yet to be scheduled, police said Tuesday.
There is a publication ban on evidence and information given during the tele-bail hearing.
Neighbours said Nickerson and Conte are mother and son. Police would not state the relationship between the two, and would only say the deceased and suspect are known to each other.

Neighbour Jeanine Kroppmanns said the details of the woman’s death are “horrifying.”
“It was a very brutal murder that happened,” Kroppmanns said.
Police will not comment. “We will not be speaking about weapons that may or may not have been recovered,” said RCMP Cpl. Annie Linteau, in Vancouver, on Monday.
Kroppmanns said police were at the home on Thanksgiving. A disturbance — noises that sounded like breaking glass, and pots and pans being banged about — could be heard before police arrived, she said.
Members of the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit with assistance from Sooke RCMP continued their investigation at the scene Tuesday.

The forensic identification section also remained at the scene, according to police Tuesday.
The deceased woman’s body was still at the scene Monday. Police would not confirm Tuesday whether the body had been moved.
On Sunday about 3:30 p.m., Sooke RCMP arrived at 20-2615 Otter Point Rd., a trailer park in Sooke, after receiving a call for assistance. Police will not say who called.
Once there, police said they found the deceased and a 21-year-old man who “was arrested at the scene for murder.”

Neighbours said the mother cared deeply for her son, but that the young man was mentally ill and possibly took recreational drugs. Police occasionally attended the home, neighbours say.

Sooke RCMP confirmed the suspect is known to police.

Neighbour Amian Vaughn-Evans, who lives directly beside the family, said the man suffered from “mental-health issues and there were drug issues.”
“She cared about her son a great deal. She loved him lots,” Vaughn-Evans said.

Nickerson was a good person who wanted to provide a safe place for her son to stay, Vaughn-Evans said. “I’m sad she’s gone. She didn’t deserve this.”
Dale Birchard, 50, who lives across from the pair, said Conte “seemed like a real nice kid. He was polite. He was respectful.”
Nickerson was a mother of at least two other children, a daughter and son, but lived only with Conte, Birchard said.
“She had a heart of gold and like any mother she gave unconditional love,” Birchard said. “She had faith in him. She believed in God. And she thought, keep that love there and they’ll get through the whole thing.”
Any commotion he heard was verbal, not physical, Birchard said.

This is the capital region’s first murder investigation in the new year. Police could not say the last time there was a murder in Sooke, but added there were no murders there in 2011.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Second psychiatric test ordered for Sooke man accused of murder
By Staff Writer - Goldstream News Gazette
Published: February 24, 2012 9:00 AM
Updated: February 24, 2012 9:51 AM

Crown and defence attorneys have agreed to seek a second opinion after a Sooke man was found “marginally fit” to stand trial for murder.

Alex Conte, 21, is charged with second degree murder in the death of this mother Sarah Nickerson, who as found deceased the afternoon of Jan. 8 in her mobile home on Otter Point Road.

Sooke RCMP officers responded to a 9-1-1 call for help that came from a mobile home in the Park Village. Conte was arrested at the scene.

Conte appeared in Western Communities Courthouse via video from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam on Thursday, where he is being held. Unshaven with close cropped dark hair, he sat quietly and showed little emotion or reaction during proceedings.

Crown prosecutor Christine Lowe told the court a psychiatric assessment found Conte fit to stand trial, although “marginally fit.”

Lowe agreed with defense attorney Bill Heflin a second psychiatric assessment is needed to determine if Conte will stand trial for murder. If found to be suffering from a mental disorder at the time he was arrested, he can't be held criminally responsible for the alleged offense.

“In my experience you are either fit, or it’s don’t call us, we’ll call you,” Heflin said. “This is a hybrid creature that strongly suggests further inquiry is warranted.”

Heflin and Lowe submitted an agreed statement of facts and the psychiatric report to Judge Evan Blake, which are under a publication ban. Blake ordered Conte undergo a second assessment within the next 30 days.

Conte had a troubled past before being arrested for his mother’s alleged murder. Last year he was found guilty on three counts of assault. He is currently charged with assault, uttering threats and break and enter from an incident on May 20, 2011.

Conte is scheduled to appear at Western Communities Courthouse again via video on March 22, 2 p.m.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 11:08:11 PM by BCID »


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Re: Sarah Nickerson (53) - Jan 8, 2012 - MURDER
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2012, 04:46:02 PM »

Evaluation complete, son will stand trial

By Louise Dickson, Times Colonist
March 23, 2012

A 21-year-old Sooke man charged with the second-degree murder of his mother, Sarah Nickerson, has been committed to stand trial in B.C. Supreme Court.
Alexander Conte is not seeking a preliminary inquiry, Crown prosecutor Christine Lowe told Western Communities provincial court. His case is scheduled to come before B.C. Supreme Court Chambers on April 16.
On Thursday, Conte appeared peaceful, halfsmiling when he appeared by video from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam, where he has been assessed.
Members of his family, who have attended all his appearances, were again present in the public gallery of the courtroom.
On Feb. 16, Conte was found marginally fit to stand trial.
A second assessment - ordered by Judge Evan Blake to determine whether Conte was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the alleged offence, which would exempt him from criminal responsibility - is now complete.
The results of the second assessment were not discussed during Thursday's proceedings.
Conte was arrested Jan. 8 at his mother's mobile home on Otter Point Road in Sooke after police received a call for assistance.
When officers arrived at Nickerson's home, they found her body and arrested Conte.
On Jan. 12, a provincial court judge ordered an assessment to determine whether Conte was fit to stand trial. The court granted an extension of the order on Jan. 19.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Conte found fit to stand trial
Published: March 25, 2012 3:00 PM
Updated: March 25, 2012 3:13 PM

Alex Conte, will stand trial for the alleged murder of his mother Sarah Nickerson.

Conte was charged with second degree murder after he was arrested on Jan. 8 at his mother's home at a mobile home park on Otter Point Road. Police had been called to the scene where they found his mother's body.

The second determination of his ability to stand trial was read in Western Communities provincial court on March 22.

Conte, 21-years-old, was found marginally fit to stand trial on Feb. 16 and Judge Evan Blake ordered the second assessment to determine whether the was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the murder. He was assessed at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam.

Conte will appear in B.C. Supreme Court on April 16. Conte appeared in court on the previous two occasions via video conferencing, with some his family in the court room. He first appeared in court on Jan. 12 where the judge ordered the first assessment to ascertain whether Conte was fit to stand trial.


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Re: Sarah Nickerson (53) - Jan 8, 2012 - MURDER
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2012, 11:10:48 PM »

Sarah Daley (Sally) NICKERSON

NICKERSON, Sarah (Sally) Daley September 2nd, 1953 to January 8th, 2012 In loving memory of our Mother, Grandmother, Daughter, Sister and Friend. Psalms 23. The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

A service will be held at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 1692 Murray Rd. on Saturday, January 21st, at 3 o'clock. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Sooke Crisis Centre. Letters and cards of condolence to the families may be sent c/o Holy Trinity Church, Box 519, Sooke, B.C. V9Z 1H5. 646669

 Published in Victoria Times-Colonist on January 14, 2012


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Re: Sarah Nickerson (53) - Jan 8, 2012 - MURDER
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 07:04:36 AM »
This is so hearbreaking.  The very thought that some one could be possibly kill their own Mother.  Though it is often been said we harm the ones we love the most.  It is sad for the poor Mother, and for the suriving other children.  But it is also sad for this young man who indeed did kill his mother, as he killed the very one that took care of him.  Depending just how sick this young man is, either way he will have to live with the fact that he killed his mother.  For me that would be worse than any punishment that could be metered out.  But then again there are evil persons in the world so who knows.  Just heart breaking all the way around.

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Re: Sarah Nickerson (53) - Jan 8, 2012 - MURDER
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2016, 05:21:45 PM »

Sooke man found not criminally responsible for killing mother with axe

Jeff Bell / Times Colonist
January 30, 2013

The sad case of Alex Conte, who has been found not criminally responsible for killing his mother due to a mental disorder, could have been avoided with a system that was better-equipped to help him, his lawyer says.

“Unfortunately, I think the whole tragedy was probably preventable,” William Heflin said outside court after the 21-year-old Sooke man’s second-degree murder trial ended Wednesday.

Conte was found to be psychotic a few days before he killed his mother, Sarah Nickerson, on Jan. 8, 2012, but was given only a prescription to address the problem on his own, Heflin said.

“I can’t blame the specific doctor, but the way we run our system — that’s sort of the way they automatically do things, and it probably in this case was very, very wrong.”

Conte had previously shown violent tendencies, Heflin said.

“The obvious holes in the system are that when you have a violent offender who’s clearly psychotic, the initial thing you should be doing is holding him, assessing him and then trying to stabilize him, rather than just shooing him off home.”

In his ruling Wednesday on the case, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Macaulay described the 58-year-old Nickerson’s death as “ghastly and bizarre.”

Conte, who was convinced there was an “evil being” inside his mother, used an axe and a knife to kill and dismember her.

“He did not think his mother was human at the time,” Macaulay said.

One of two psychiatrists who examined Conte diagnosed him with schizophrenia. Conte will continue to be treated at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam.

“I think it’s the best outcome for all of us,” Heflin said. “Eventually, they may cure him. If he went to jail for 20 years, he wouldn’t be cured, when or if he got out. He would just be a mess.”

He said the family is “completely devastated” by what has happened, and that he believes Conte is now aware of what he has done.

“He loved his mother very much and it was very sad that this happened. If he could take it back, he would,” Heflin said. “He deals with his grief every day.”

Treatment for people living with mental illness was more effective in the past, when there were publicly funded residential facilities, he said.

“There was a time when we lived in this country and everyone with a mental disorder was living in a quiet institution where they were cared for,” Heflin said.

“At the present time, we have people wandering the streets with mental disorders, and they’re being preyed upon by the worst elements of our society.”

Street drugs are a huge issue for such people, and they played a big role in Conte’s situation, he said.

“He was self-medicating, if you will, for his problems,” Heflin said. “The result was tragic.”

Vancouver Island Health Authority spokeswoman Sarah Plank said a “broad range” of services are offered in the area of mental health and addictions, including crisis response, psychotherapy and housing. The Vancouver Island Crisis Line is available 24/7 for support with mental-health concerns.

VIHA spent $108 million on mental health and addictions programs in 2012 — funding that has gone up 20 per cent in the past five years, she said.