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Substance Abuse and Mental Anguish Blamed for Mass Murder and Arson

Can a love of drugs and drink drive an individual to commit a multiple murder and then arson to conceal the crime? The family members of convicted felon Conner Schierman believe it is a viable defense to save the man’s life.

The PNW Local News reported on the opening day of the penalty phase for Schierman. Described by his younger sister as always upbeat and happy-go-lucky, Schierman faces the potential of death by lethal injection.

Fighting for his client, Defense Attorney James Conroy claims Schierman had a troubled past of mental illness, childhood abuse at the hands of his father and drug and alcohol use. Kinsey noted she had noticed a change in her brother’s behavior around the time of their parents divorce. She reported he began smoking cigarettes, drinking and arguing more.

“I was younger and I didn’t have the ability to ask him, you know, ‘what exactly are you so mad about?’ or ‘what’s so difficult for you right now?’ and I didn’t think to ask that either because I felt I was just happy that Dave (her father) was gone,” Kinsey said.

She also told the court that her brother never wanted to be a bad influence on her and sought treatment for alcohol and drug abuse at a rehabilitation center. He then moved to a halfway house in Kirkland before the murders.

Dean Dubinsky, Schierman’s stepfather, was the first to take the stand last week as a defense witness, sharing with the jury that his stepson once tried to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills, but instead threw them up all over the place.

While Schierman’s family pleads for his life, the family of the victims do not have that option. No matter what his frame of mind or amount of substance in his bloodstream the day of the murders, the crime was still committed. Schierman now awaits his fate.

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