Damien Starrett continued giving his testimony on Wednesday (Mar. 30).
The 33-year-old is currently on trial after killing his one-year-old son, Ares, and assaulting his five-year-old daughter in 2019. He is facing a second-degree murder charge.
After spending the first day of his testimony talking about his childhood, his insomnia and giving his perspective on what happened the night Ares died, Starrett talked about the protests outside his home when he got out of jail.
He said the start of the protests is when his night terrors began. He told the court the protestors would stand outside, yell horrible things, disrupt the neighbours and wouldn't let people come to his home.
The defense then asked Starrett to talk about his history of drug abuse. Starrett said he first smoked marijuana when he was 15 and started drinking at 17, which eventually became a problem. He tried cocaine for the first time in his early 20s and later became addicted.
The Fort Saskatchewan father claimed he sobered up after his daughter was born. However, he admitted to getting hooked on Percocet and Tylenol 3s a year before Ares was born. He said he tried heroin a few months before Ares was killed.
When talking about his children, Starrett said he was never violent with them and did not do drugs around them. A week before Ares died, he remembered having an incident where he fell asleep and woke up smoking a lit cigarette. He said it was shocking as he didn't remember doing it and he never smoked in the house.
The defense is pursuing a 'not criminally responsible' action, claiming he was in an automaton-like sleep state similar to this at the time of the incident. This could result in Starrett being sent to a psychiatric hospital instead of being criminally convicted.
When the cross-examination began, prosecutors pressed Starrett on his drug use and medical history. Starrett confirmed when he was addicted to Percocet, he would buy roughly 100 pills a week and consume 70, selling the rest. He also said he stopped using heroin soon before Ares' first birthday.
The prosecution will continue its cross-examination on Thursday.