Finn Coogan, 23, was found dead on May 4, 2019, at the apartment he shared with his brother after RCMP were called for a report of a fight. (Facebook/In Loving Memory of Finn Coogan)

Finn Coogan, 23, was found dead on May 4, 2019, at the apartment he shared with his brother after RCMP were called for a report of a fight. (Facebook/In Loving Memory of Finn Coogan)

Duncan man found not criminally responsible in slaying of younger brother

Expert witnesses said Daniel Coogan was suffering from psychotic episode during attack

Warning: This article contains disturbing details.

A Duncan man who killed his younger brother in the midst of a psychotic break stood before a B.C. Supreme Court justice Friday and said he had chosen to live for himself and his brother.

Justice Jeanne Watchuk found Daniel Coogan not criminally responsible as a result of a mental disorder in the killing of his brother in their Duncan apartment nearly two years prior.

“There is nothing I can say that will change what has happened in this situation but there is something I can do, and that is to continue on my path with treatment and better understand myself and my mental health,” Coogan said.

On May 4, 2019, around 12:30 a.m., the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP was called to an apartment building in the 3200-block of Cowichan Lake Road for a report of a fight in progress inside the unit the brothers shared.

Finn Coogan, 23, was found dead in the apartment with multiple lacerations and an edged weapon sticking out of his chest. Coogan was charged with one count of second-degree murder in his brother’s death.

Coogan had a history of health issues, drug use and mental health disorders, Watchuk said. Evidence from past counselling sessions revealed Coogan frequently heard voices, and in the months leading up to the attack, the voices became increasingly aggressive, depriving him of his ability to determine right from wrong.

He was also using drugs such as ketamine, marijuana and cocaine.

RELATED: Murder charge laid in man’s weekend death in Duncan

Multiple experts said Coogan met the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia and testified that both before and during the attack, he was likely in a psychotic state.

That night, Coogan had worked his job at a Shell station before returning home to the apartment around 11:30 p.m. Watchuk referred to evidence that a customer at the Shell station was so concerned by Coogan’s dishevelled and withdrawn appearance that she called the store’s managers the following day.

When Coogan arrived home, he visited with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend in the living room before going to his bedroom, where he did two lines of ketamine in order to ‘quiet the voices in his head’ and attempted to sleep.

According to testimony from the victim’s girlfriend, Coogan got into an altercation with his brother shortly after. The fight involved a weapon that may have been a machete.

The girlfriend, who was not named, said she ran to the balcony while the altercation was occurring. She witnessed some of the attack and said Coogan looked angry and his eyes were “super, super dark.” His voice had been reduced to a “deep growl.” She could hear Finn telling his brother, that “he loved him so much.”

When RCMP arrived, the girlfriend was at a neighbouring apartment. Police entered and discovered Finn’s body on the floor. When Coogan came out of his bedroom, he followed their orders and was taken into custody.

He told RCMP that he couldn’t recall what had happened.

“I was not the one in the driver’s seat,” he told police. “I can’t say how it happened, because if I knew how it happened, then I probably would have done something to stop it.”

Coogan told police that he had thought he was dreaming until they arrived at the apartment.

In her ruling, Watchuk said, “his mental disorder rendered him incapable of appreciating the nature … of his acts or knowing they were wrong.”

Coogan’s parents were in the courtroom Friday and both expressed their gratitude for the verdict. The brothers were close they said, and Finn would have wanted his brother to get treatment.

“We have complete belief that Dan would never knowingly harm anybody, let alone his brother,” said his father, Tim Coogan.

Coogan will be remanded into the custody of a forensic psychiatric facility. A review board will determine the duration of his treatment.

RELATED: Daniel Coogan to stand trial in death of his brother


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

duncanmurder trial

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer trailer, camera, tools, cigarettes and cleaning supplies

Parksville, Nanoose Bay feature prominently among 226 complaints to Oceanside RCMP

Mary Ellen Campbell, president of the Parksville Museum, visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: A chat with Parksville Museum president Mary Ellen Campbell

Podcast: Talk includes plans for 2021, dealing with COVID-19 and more

Eaglecrest Golf Club plans to operate as a nine-hole course starting April 1. (Eaglecrest Facebook photo)
Eaglecrest Golf Club in Qualicum Beach still plans to have course layout reduced to 9 holes

Town council continues to negotiate lease for 18-hole operation

A rendering of a proposed housing development located across from the beachfront in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Multi-residential development planned across from Qualicum Beach waterfront

Residents raise variety of concerns about project

Proprietor of Sweet Truck, Morgan Ray, as she hands off her baked goods to a customer. (Photo courtesy of Avrinder Dhillon Photography)
COVID-19: Qualicum Beach baker eyes move back from food truck to bricks and mortar

Storefront offers more stability amid growth in sales: Ray

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read