October 20th, 2020

Crown, defence in Fredericton shooting trial agree accused had mental disorder


By Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press on October 9, 2020.

Matthew Raymond is escorted from provincial court in Fredericton on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. The jury hearing the trial into the shooting deaths of four people in Fredericton in 2018 has been shown more videos and pictures from the computer of the accused. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

FREDERICTON – The Crown and defence at a murder trial in Fredericton have agreed that Matthew Raymond suffered from a mental disorder when he shot four victims two years ago.

The development occurred Friday afternoon following a lengthy cross-examination by the defence of an RCMP computer expert concerning files on the computer of Matthew Raymond.

Raymond, 50, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright and Fredericton police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns. The four victims were shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Aug. 10, 2018.

Robichaud and Wright were killed while packing their car for a trip, while the police officers were killed when they responded to the crime scene. During opening statements the defence admitted Raymond killed the victims but says he was delusional and paranoid at the time and should be found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

On Friday, Crown Prosecutor Darlene Blunston read an agreed statement of facts.

“On Aug. 10, 2018, when Matthew Vincent Raymond shot and killed Donald Robichaud, Bobbie-Lee Wright, Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sara Burns, he suffered from a mental disorder, within the meaning of Section 16 of the Criminal Code of Canada,” she said.

The statement does not specify the kind of mental disorder.

Despite the agreed facts, in order to have him found not criminally responsible, Raymond’s defence team must still prove that he was incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of his actions and that his acts were wrong.

Earlier Friday, the jury viewed more material seized from Raymond’s computer regarding how to identify demons and serpents.

RCMP Cpl. Aaron Gallagher, a computer expert, said many of the thousands of videos and screenshots on the suspect’s computer came from a conspiracy theory website run by someone identifying himself as Rob Lee.

The jury has viewed two videos from Matthew Raymond’s computer in which Lee details how to identify serpents and demons by the way they look and through the use of symbols and numbers such as 33, 1/3 and 666.

Under cross-examination Friday by defence lawyer Nathan Gorham, Gallagher agreed that many of the pictures and videos downloaded by Raymond between August 2017 and July 2018 discussed ways to identity people who were demons or serpents.

At one point, Gorham asked if it was possible Raymond had saved 12,000 images in March 2018. “Yes, it’s certainly possible,” Gallagher replied.

Gallagher said while he knew there was a large volume of files on the computer, he only looked at a sampling of them.

Many of the pictures presented to jurors had been altered by someone who drew dots near peoples’ eyes and mouths and who wrote comments such as “evil eyes,” “snake tongue” or “shape-shifter.”

Gorham asked if Gallagher could see a snake tongue in one of the photos.

“From my view, no snake tongue,” Gallagher replied.

The trial resumes Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2020.

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