Matthew Raymond not criminally responsible for killing 2 constables, 2 civilians

Matthew Raymond not criminally responsible for killing 2 constables, 2 civilians
Matthew Raymond not criminally responsible for killing 2 constables, 2 civilians

اخبارالعرب 24-كندا:Friday 20 November 2020 10:02 AM A jury has found Matthew Raymond not criminally responsible for the shooting deaths of four Fredericton residents two years ago.

The jury returned the verdict Friday morning after deliberating about 25 hours over four days.

Raymond, 50, had admitted to shooting and killing Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright from his storage room window at 237 Brookside Dr., then Fredericton constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello when they responded to calls of shots fired on Aug. 10, 2018.

Family members of the victims sobbed when the verdict was read.

Justice Larry Landry cautioned people against outbursts. A relative of Sara Burns, wearing a "#FrederictonStrong" shirt, ran out of the courtroom in tears

Wearing a navy shirt and black pants, Raymond wiped away tears and nodded.

Raymond's mother Shirley Raymond also wiped tears. 

As a witness at his own trial, Raymond testified he believed he was shooting demons, not humans, coming to kill him after he became convinced the end times had come.

Two psychiatrists testified they diagnosed him with schizophrenia, and a third diagnosed him with delusional disorder.

Matthew Raymond leaves court for the night after the jury began deliberating Tuesday. (Eric Woolliscroft/CBC)

The verdict came more than two years after the shooting sent shockwaves through the province. The case has been plagued by delays since the beginning because of fitness to stand trial issues and COVID-19 court closures.

The trial spanned more 10 weeks and had 44 witnesses, including police officers, nurses, psychiatrists, Raymond himself and members of his family.

The jury was the first chosen in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. 

Justice Larry Landry thanked the 11 jurors for their service and excused them for the final time.

The Crown argued Raymond's delusions weren't so intense that he didn't know what he was doing or that it was wrong. The Crown pointed out Raymond didn't shoot a couple standing by Robichaud's body, that he modified his rifle to double the amount of ammunition it could hold, he barricaded his door, and he shot the victims in the head and chest, which shows intent to kill.

Raymond thought victims were demons

Despite his admission that he killed the four victims, the defence argued he was not criminally responsible because his schizophrenia stopped him from knowing what he was doing or that it was wrong.

He testified he believed he was shooting demons coming to kill him, not humans.

Before the jury began deliberating Justice Larry Landry told them finding Raymond not criminally responsible does not mean he will be released.

He said Raymond will remain in jail until a hearing is held to determine his supervision and treatment. By law, the New Brunswick Review Board must hold a hearing within 45 days of the verdict.

At the hearing the board must consider the safety of the public, Raymond's mental condition and his integration into society to decide whether he's a significant threat to the safety of the public.

Medications required during trial

Landry said Raymond will only be released if and when the review board decides he's no longer a significant threat to the public.

Raymond had already been receiving mandatory antipsychotic medication injections months before and during the trial to keep him fit.

He testified he only stopped believing in demons last month, and still believed he heard a child outside his window say "Come out and play, baby" which he interpreted as a sign of Armageddon beginning.

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