Court has heard that three people involved in a bizarre naked kidnapping case south of Edmonton last year suffered from a rare, shared psychotic disorder.
A courtroom in Leduc was packed with supporters as a judge heard a joint recommendation from lawyers for a conditional sentence.
Court has heard the group was not affected by alcohol or drugs but believed it was the end of the world and wanted to save their neighbours when they forced them from their home last November.
Two women and one man, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, earlier pleaded guilty to unlawful confinement.
One of the women, the only one dressed at the time of the kidnapping, also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.
Her teenage daughters were also arrested but not charged.
Strange things happened
An agreed statement of facts says the group, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, had gathered at a home near Leduc on Nov. 2, 1017.
The mother, who was then 35, had taken her daughters there to visit her 27-year old nephew and his 30-year old wife.
Strange things happened over the next three days.
The group didn’t leave the house and barely ate any food. One of the teens heard screaming and banging and saw ashes in the air.
Some of the people hid in a bedroom or bathroom because they believed they were in danger from wicked people or demons.
They also believed that the Great Tribulation had happened and Nov. 6 would be Armageddon. So they rushed off to find safety and save a neighbouring family.
But four who were naked didn’t have time to put clothes on.
“They had to leave right away because it was unsafe,” said the court document.
They were in such a hurry that after piling into a BMW SUV, they drove through the garage door.
Chant “Jehovah” 10 times
They then forced the neighbours — a man, his adult daughter and her six-week-old son — out of their house and into the snow without shoes.
The woman and her baby were put in the back seat of the SUV and the man was put in the trunk.
He was ordered to chant “Jehovah” 10 times and the group also chanted “Jehovah” as the vehicle sped down roads and through a red light on the way to nearby Nisku.
The man in the trunk was able to jump out when the vehicle slowed, because the trunk’s latch hadn’t shut properly.
His daughter was also able to get out with her child, although her hand was slammed in the door as she made the attempt.
A passing truck stopped to help the family and they climbed inside. But the SUV then rammed the truck from behind.
The woman and her baby were thrown into the truck’s dash but not injured. The SUV then went into a ditch.
When RCMP arrived, the group were chanting and refusing to get out of the vehicle. They clung to each other and the SUV.
One of the teens believed the police “were monsters who would kill them,” said the document.
Officers said the group displayed extreme strength. Two were pepper sprayed but seemed unaffected. The three adults were also shot with Tasers several times.
One also slid under the SUV and had to be dragged out with a strap.
The neighbours later told Mounties the group seems “demonized” and “obviously not in their right minds.”
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.