A Fort Saskatchewan man accused of murdering his toddler is seeking an alternative. 

Damien Starrett, 33, is facing a second-degree murder charge after allegedly killing his one-year-old son, Ares, and assaulting his five-year-old daughter in 2019. 

Defence lawyer Rory Ziv says Starrett did kill his son but is pleading not guilty as he was in an automaton-like sleep state at the time of the incident. Instead, the defence is pursuing a 'not criminally responsible' action which could possibly see Starrett sent to a psychiatric hospital instead of being criminally convicted. 

Earlier this week, FortSaskOnline.com reported the jury in the case was dismissed

On Friday morning (Mar. 25), Starrett didn't testify as planned. Ziv said his client wasn't feeling well.

Defence begins case

Ziv called on a Fort Saskatchewan Walmart pharmacy manager and neighbours in the case. 

The Walmart manager did confirm Starrett's prescription records from numerous doctors for a variety of medications, including sleeping pills. 

Two of Starrett's neighbours also testified in the trial. One of Starrett's neighbours, Russell Douglas, recalled seeing the father distraught and pale the afternoon before Ares’ death. 

"He didn't look very good at all," Douglas testified.

A world-renowned sleeping expert and Starrett's account of the incident are still to come.