The defence brought forward a new witness in the Damien Starrett murder trial.

Dr. Colin Shapiro is a psychiatrist who specialized in sleep research and conducted a series of sleep-related tests on Starrett in 2021, two years after the Fort Saskatchewan father was arrested for killing his one-year-old son Ares and assaulting his five-year-old daughter.

The 33-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder. The defense is arguing that Starrett is 'not criminally responsible' because he was in an automaton-like sleep state when he attacked his children.

Shapiro told the court he believes Starrett was suffering from parasomnia when he killed his son. He explained parasomnia is a disorder where people do things they are unaware of, including having sleep terrors, walking, talking or even driving while a person is asleep.

The accused's daughter did say in her testimony that her father seemed to wake up after hitting her and Ares and then asked her what happened.

The doctor went on to explain that people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) are more likely to suffer from parasomnia. During the trial, the court was told Starrett had been diagnosed with FASD as well as had a history of sleep problems.

Starrett's history of drug abuse was also spoken of over the last few weeks, including cocaine, alcohol, heroin and prescription opioids. He'd taken six pills of Percocet in about five hours the day Ares was killed.

The defence intends to call a few more doctors this week before concluding its case.