Attacker believes bus driver humiliated him: psychologist

Gary Mattson, who brutally attacked Edmonton Transit bus driver Tom Bregg, said Bregg deserved a "couple of punches," but not being stomped on, a psychologist testifed Tuesday.

Gary Mattson, who brutally attacked Edmonton Transit bus driver Tom Bregg, said Bregg deserved a "couple of punches," but not being stomped on, a psychologist testifed Tuesday.

Mattson sat with his head bowed as Sheila Greer testified at his dangerous offender hearing.

If declared a dangerous offender, Mattson could be kept in prison indefinitely.

Sheila Greer spent about five hours with Mattson last summer at the Edmonton Remand Centre.

Mattson drunk at time

Mattson, a life-long alcoholic, admitted he was drunk on the morning of Dec. 3, 2009, said Greer. He became angry when Bregg refused to let him on the bus.

A bus passenger offered Mattson money for bus fare, but the driver told him not to put it in the fare box because he wasn't going to be allowed to ride, Mattson told Greer.  

Mattson said the driver had humiliated him, Greer said.

"Some drivers act like it's their vehicle - they take their job too seriously," she quoted Mattson as saying.

He told Greer the driver's behaviour might have deserved a couple of punches, but not being stomped on, she said.

Mattson told her he felt badly about the beating, but put the blame on alcohol, she said.

'No use worrying about it'

"No use worrying about it because it happened," Greer said Mattson told her.

Mattson admits to problems with his temper when drinking, but said "it takes him a lot to get riled up" when sober, she said.

Mattson punched Bregg and stomped on his head 15 times in the attack caught by the bus's security camera.

The veteran driver was blinded in his left eye and suffers from a number of health problems as a result of the attack.

Greer told the court she believes Mattson's antisocial behavior is caused largely by his lifestyle — living on the streets and alcohol and drug use — rather than personality traits.

Mattson needs "intensive, comprehensive long term programs" to turn his life around, she said.    Greer notes that those programs are available within the federal correctional system.  

The hearing continues.