Murder charge dropped against 95-year-old dementia patient in Canada

Prosecutors in British Columbia have decided not to prosecute a 95-year-old dementia patient with second-degree murder in the death of his roommate at a residential care facility.

The province's Criminal Justice Branch announced Wednesday it was not in the public's interest to prosecute John "Jack" Daymouth Furman because of his physical health and advanced dementia, adding "steps have been taken to address any safety risk he might present."

Furman was accused of killing William "Bill" May, his 85-year-old roommate, on Aug. 18.

"Mr. Furman is a 95-year-old man with severe dementia," said Crown lawyer Stephen Lawhead. "All of the available medical and psychiatric information indicates he is unable to stand trial, and that there is no reasonable chance he will ever be fit."

Lawhead said Furman remains at a psychiatric facility and will be there for an undetermined time.

The Criminal Justice Branch said Furman remains confused and disoriented about his current circumstances, as well as the circumstances surrounding the death. It also says he is unlikely to improve.

"On the evidence available to Crown counsel, it appeared that the assault occurred while Mr. Furman was in a delusional state arising out of his dementia," the branch said.

About a week after May's death, his sons spoke to reporters and expressed sympathy for Furman.

"He could not have been motivated by any personal animosity towards Bill," Paul May said, noting the incident was a tragedy for all involved.