U.K. forensic psychiatrist diagnosed Winnipeg serial killer with schizophrenia, trial hears

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

The forensic psychiatrist enlisted by defence lawyers to assess the mental state of an admitted Winnipeg serial killer has diagnosed Jeremy Skibicki with schizophrenia, his trial heard Tuesday.

The diagnosis was made following two assessments by Dr. Sohom Das — one in September 2022 and another in April 2024.

Das is testifying in Skibicki’s trial for first-degree murder in the deaths of three First Nations women — Rebecca Contois, 24, Morgan Harris, 39, and Marcedes Myran, 26 — and a fourth, unidentified woman community leaders have given the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman, who police have said they believe was Indigenous and in her 20s.

Skibicki has pleaded not guilty. Defence lawyers argue he should be found not criminally responsible in the women’s deaths due to a mental disorder.

While the finding from Das’s report was referenced briefly, the U.K.-based psychiatrist’s testimony in a Winnipeg courtroom so far Tuesday morning has focused largely on details revealed in Skibicki’s medical history and child welfare files.

The faces of three First Nations women are pictured side by side.
Left to right: Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and Rebecca Contois. Skibicki is charged in their deaths and in the death of an as-yet unidentified woman who has been given the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman, by community leaders. (Submitted by Winnipeg Police Service and Darryl Contois)

Those files detail episodes of aggression, self-harm and multiple suicide attempts, some dating back to when Skibicki, now 37, was a teenager. There were also reports he was abused by his parents, court heard.

The trial is expected to hear details of Das’s assessment of Skibicki’s mental state later Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege that Skibicki, now 37, preyed on vulnerable Indigenous women at Winnipeg homeless shelters, killing four in 2022 and throwing their remains in the garbage.

He was charged after unexpectedly confessing to the killings during a police interview, following the discovery of Contois’s remains in garbage bins near his apartment.

The judge-alone trial before Manitoba Court of King’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal is being held in a Winnipeg courtroom.

The trial resumed Monday after pausing following the conclusion of the Crown’s case on May 22. It began hearing evidence on May 8.