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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Man suffering delusions sentenced for stabbing 7-year-old boy

UPDATED: Wed., May 27, 2020

A Spokane judge sentenced Bruce Landahl to 13 years in prison last week for the random stabbing of a 7-year-old boy in the neck in November 2018.

The 32-year-old Landahl pleaded guilty to assault and attempted murder after Eastern State Hospital psychiatrist Dr. William Grant determined he was competent to stand trial in Spokane Superior Court.

Witnesses said Landahl bear hugged a boy in the HiCo Village gas station in Spokane Valley using one arm, telling the boy’s father “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” before he stabbed the child, according to court documents. The boy suffered puncture wounds in his neck, upper back, shoulder, right hand and middle finger.

Initial reports found Landahl had delusions spurred by intensive use of cough medicine which led to the stabbing. Despite months of treatment with an antipsychotic drug at Eastern, Landahl continues to hear 40 different voices.

Grant reported that by May 2 these voices no longer interfered with Landahl’s daily functioning and he understood his charges. He could also define the roles of judge, prosecutor and defense attorney, according to Grant’s report, meaning his trial could move forward.

From 2016 to the time of his arrest, Landahl took 16 to 80 Coricidin Cough and Cold pills everyday.

“I wasn’t going to get in trouble taking that,” Landahl said when Grant asked why he relied on cough medicine rather than illegal drugs.

During a decade of intensive over-the-counter drug use, he began hearing voices that revealed to him little-understood truths about the universe, he said.

“We do not live on the real earth. We live in what’s called ‘the system,’ ” Landahl said.

The system is a simulation that replicates the earth as it was before God revealed himself in the year 2322 – similar to the Matrix, Landahl told Grant. Scientists made a deal with God to operate this bio-organic computer system, he said, and that these Satan-worshipping scientists said that if he took one to five boxes of Coricidin everyday, he could see and hear them in “white noise.”

Having not touched Coricidin cough medicine in months, Landahl’s beliefs no longer dominated his thoughts by early May, Grant wrote. Still, Landahl considers his beliefs to be true. If he had access to Coricidin, Landahl said he could access this hidden information again.

He was sentenced to 160 months in prison but will receive 17 months credit for the time he spent in jail and under treatment at Eastern. He believes he won’t survive to be released.

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