Judge kills pitch to have accused murderer deemed not criminally responsible

Gloria Zerbinos may have psychosis, but judge says it can't be determined it was active when she killed her mom.

Surrey's Gloria Zerbinos (right) is on trial for the murder of her mother Panagiota 'Yota' Zerbinos (left) in 2012.

A court has rejected a defence that Surrey’s Gloria Zerbinos can’t be found criminally responsible for the stabbing death of her mother.

Zerbinos, 30, is on trial for the second-degree murder of her 43-year-old mother, Panagiota “Yota” Zerbinos.

Justice Frits Verhoeven combed over the findings of two doctors as well as the testimony of police and witnesses to come to his conclusion in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster Thursday.

To determine that she was not criminally responsible due to mental defect, Verhoeven had to find that she  was mentally ill, and incapable of telling right from wrong at the time of the offence.

“(There’s) no objective evidence she did not have the capacity to understand her actions,” Verhoeven told the court.

“I’m not satisfied that she is not criminally responsible.”

Zerbinos had claimed on several occasions that men were sneaking into her room and using chloroform on the family and “pimping” her and her son.

According to her claims, they were gaining access to the room from the closet and through electrical outlets.

While psychiatrists agreed there was some sort of delusional abnormality present, there is no proof it was active at the time of the killing.

In fact, witness testimony indicated Zerbinos appeared controlled following the stabbing.

“Witnesses said she was calm at the time and she showed no sign of being upset,” Verhoeven said.

He noted that raised doubt that she was experiencing psychosis at the time.

He also pointed to a long history of acrimony shown toward her mother.

“She and her mother argued frequently,” Verhoeven said. “At the time of her death, she (Yota) was afraid of being alone with her daughter.”

Nonetheless, she went to her daughter’s basement suite, near 88 Avenue and 148A Street, to drop off clean laundry on Nov. 8, 2012.

Panagiota Zerbinos was found under a blanket with 24 stab wounds and a knife sticking out of her chest.

Her daughter was arrested two days later at the No. 5 Orange strip club in Vancouver.

The trial is scheduled to continue Aug. 6.

 

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