January 18, 1983
Coquitlam, British Columbia
Bruce Alfred Blackman (22) kills six members of his family

The attacks took place during the pre-dawn hours of January 18, around 5:30 a.m. One of the Blackmans’ neighbors heard the screams of one victim as he attempted to flee from the attacker, at which point the neighbor saw “a couple of guys running around the lawn. It looked like somebody was chasing somebody. I heard a couple of shouts for help. The guys came back, one leading the other, and one guy fell down on his knees in the garage. The other guy told him to get back into the house. I’d opened my windows by this time. One guy came back and grabbed something off the bench in the garage and walked back into the house.” The neighbor called police and a few minutes later watched a man, later identified as Bruce, walk out of the house. “He didn’t seem to hurry,” the neighbor recalled, “he just sort of strolled out.”

Bruce Blackman
The Province. January 19, 1983

Police arrested Bruce as he was walking down a hill away from his home. Inside the house were the bodies of Bruce’s parents — Richard (50) and Irene Katherine (49) — his siblings — Roberta Lynn Davies (28), Karen Dale Rhodes (25), and Richard “Rick” Joseph (16) — and his brother-in-law John Iorweth Davies (39). Bruce’s twin brother was not at the house at the time of the killings. Each victim had been shot and it was suspected at least one had been bludgeoned.

Two of the victims, Irene and Rick Blackman
The Province. January 19, 1983

In the weeks leading to the murders, Irene told a friend she had a “pressing family problem,” but did not elaborate on the details. Additionally, Rick was dropped off at his house by a classmate approximately 10 hours before the killings. The friend noted something seemed amiss as he dropped Rick off, and a family member seemed “tense” as he asked the friend to leave as he had something important to discuss with Rick.

While in custody, Bruce told a psychiatrist he believed his family represented the anti-Christ. “I tried to resist the voices,” Bruce said. “I thought it was the voice of God, but the devil tricked me.” He also stated he believed God had ordered him to kill his family to prevent a world-ending disaster.

Bruce was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was placed in the custody of the Forensic Psychiatric Institute until a review board could deem him fit for release which occurred in 1995 as a conditional discharge. Bruce has reportedly changed his name since his release.

Sources:
Theodore, Terri. “Mentally ill killer a victim, too, says wife of slain Ottawa sportcaster.” The Star. December 13, 2010. Accessed: January 18, 2021. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2010/12/13/mentally_ill_killer_a_victim_too_says_wife_of_slain_ottawa_sportcaster.html
Pemberton, Kim. “Killer’s release ‘irresponsible’.” The Vancouver Sun. July 13, 1995
Still, Larry. “Killer committed as insanity ruled.” The Sun [Vancouver, British Columbia]. November 5, 1983
“Man charged in six deaths found fit to stand trial.” UPI. April 27, 1983. Archived: https://www.upi.com/Archives/1983/04/27/Man-charged-in-six-deaths-found-fit-to-stand-trial/6698420264000/
Inwood, Damian and Ferry, Jon. “Death house ‘shocking’.” The Province [Vancouver, British Columbia]. January 19, 1983
Chamberlain, Bob. “‘He was in a rut’ — roommate.” The Province. January 19, 1983
Joyce, Greg. “Police layer six charges of first-degree murder Tuesday against…” UPI. January 18, 1983. Archived: https://www.upi.com/Archives/1983/01/18/Police-layed-six-charges-of-first-degree-murder-Tuesday-against/8504411714000/

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