Jury sequestered to make decision: Is Anne Norris criminally responsible for killing Marcel Reardon?

Supreme Court Justice William Goodridge delivered his final instructions on Thursday to the six men and six women of the jury in Norris's first-degree murder trial.

Defence says Norris was 'ticking time bomb'; Crown says she planned to kill Reardon and knew it was wrong

Anne Norris sits in the prisoner's dock in Supreme Court in St. John's on Feb. 22, 2018, for the final arguments from her defence and the Crown prosecutors in her first-degree murder trial. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

The 12-person jury has received its final charge and has now been sequestered to make its decision about whether or not Anne Norris is criminally responsible for killing Marcel Reardon on May 9, 2016.

Supreme Court Justice William Goodridge delivered his final instructions Thursday to the six men and six women of the jury in Norris's first-degree murder trial.

They will not have to decide whether Norris killed Marcel Reardon —  Norris has admitted to that — but rather, whether she's criminally responsible.

Anne Norris has admitted to killing Marcel Reardon, 46, by hitting him repeatedly in the head with a hammer. (Submitted)

Goodridge told jurors that because of the nature of the defence claim — that Norris is not criminally responsible — they must weigh their decision on the balance of probabilities.

Jurors were sequestered around 4:30 p.m., and took Goodridge's suggestion to go to the hotel for the night at around 6 p.m.

While at the hotel, they are not permitted to speak about the case, and are also not allowed to watch TV, use phones, and are generally incommunicado. They'll return for deliberations Friday morning at 9:30.

It's an unusual murder trial, since Norris admitted on the first day that she killed Reardon, 46, by hitting him repeatedly in the head with a hammer, as well as placing his body under the steps of Harbour View Apartments and getting rid of the hammer by putting it inside a borrowed backpack and tossing that into the St. John's harbour.

Norris's defence argues she's not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.

Supreme Court Justice William Goodridge appears in court on Feb. 13, 2018, in the Anne Norris first-degree murder trial. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

Their case has included testimony from Gary Norris, her father, Brian Constantine, her ex-boyfriend, a psychologist who said she is not a psychopath, and a number of psychiatrists who either treated or assessed her.

Goodridge quickly went through some of his notes of the testimony heard by the jury, including what Gary Norris and Constantine said.

At times, Norris could be heard sobbing in the prisoner's dock as Goodridge speedily went through what her father said about his daughter's mental illness over the years.

The Crown prosecutors in the case have been trying to prove Norris knew the consequences of her actions, and planned to kill Reardon.

Florence and Gary Norris sit in Supreme Court behind their daughter on the day final arguments are submitted and jurors are given final instructions in Anne Norris's first-degree murder trial. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

Witnesses for the Crown included the lead investigator who entered hours of surveillance footage in to evidence, the two men who found Reardon's body and knew Norris in the days after the killing, and the two people who were with Norris in the hours before and after she killed Reardon.

Jurors were told that if they find Norris not criminally responsible in Reardon's death, she will not be released and free, but rather will be put into psychiatric care until a review board declares her safe to be in the community.

However, if they don't find Norris meets the requirements for not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder jurors must decide whether or not she's guilty of first-degree murder.

Scott Reardon and his wife Lee sit in Supreme Court on Feb. 22, 2018, for the final arguments in Anne Norris's murder trial. Norris has admitted to killing Marcel Reardon, Scott Reardon's brother. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

At the very least, since Norris has admitted to killing Reardon, she would be found guilty of manslaughter. 

To find her guilty of first-degree murder, the Crown would have to have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Norris planned and deliberately killed Reardon.

Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers in the case delivered their final arguments on Thursday morning.

'Ticking time bomb'

When Norris was committed to the Waterford against her will in April 2016, she was not treated for her psychotic symptoms and was a "ticking time bomb," her defence lawyer said in final submission to the jury.

Jerome Kennedy, one of Anne Norris's defence lawyers, give his closing statements to the 12-person jury in her first-degree murder trial, outlining why he thinks his client should be found not criminally responsible for killing Marcel Reardon. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

In his final submission to the jury Thursday morning, Jerome Kennedy outlined why he believes Norris is not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.

He spoke to jurors for more than an hour, going back through testimony from psychiatrists who had treated or assessed Norris since 2012, and a psychologist who assessed her and found she was not a psychopath.

Rosellen Sullivan, one of Anne Norris's defence lawyers, in court on Feb. 12, 2018, the 13th day of the first-degree murder trial. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

Norris was a troubled and mentally ill woman who, when she was in the Waterford Hospital in April 2016, was not treated or medicated for her psychosis.

Instead she was de-committed, and she decided to leave hospital on May 6. She was not prescribed any antipsychotics, Kennedy said, but rather a low dose of a mood stabilizer.

Delusions of assault 

Norris had a history of delusions of being assaulted in her sleep by men — unidentified strangers, ex boyfriends, her father.

On the night she killed Reardon, she was delusional and convinced he would come into her apartment and rape and kill her, Kennedy said.

Iain Hollett delivered the final arguments for the Crown, outlining why they believe Anne Norris should be found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Marcel Reardon. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

Kennedy outlined the year before Reardon's death, which he characterized through Dr. Nizar Ladha's testimony as being a steep decline.

In that year she was bouncing around emergency shelters, making numerous complaints to police of being assaulted in her sleep, convinced no one was listening to her.

Her delusions are characterized by the nature of her original complaint made to police in 2011, that she had been sexually assaulted between the ages of 13 and 17 by a coach. 

That investigation was suspended later that year amid concerns from her family of her mental state.

In 2012 Norris was first committed to the Waterford.

Was Norris under a delusion?

When jurors returned later Thursday morning, Crown prosecutor Iain Hollett delivered his final submission, suggesting Norris made a decision to buy a hammer and intended to kill Reardon, knowing that hitting him with a hammer was wrong. 

Hollett said there is no disputing that Norris is a mentally ill woman who has a long history of mental illness.

Twelve people are sitting on the jury in Anne Norris's murder trial at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court. (Stephanie Tobin/CBC)

However, he said the question remains whether Norris was under a delusion, to the point she didn't know it was wrong, when she killed Reardon.

Dr. Gary Chaimowitz, for example, Hollett said, thought Norris knew her actions were legally wrong, but didn't know they were morally wrong.

Hollett pointed to her spending time at Walmart the night she bought the hammer, leaving her apartment to go outside to kill Reardon, and then disposing of the hammer and her clothing. 

Crown prosecutors Iain Hollett and Jeff Summers in Supreme Court in St. John's on Feb. 13, 2018. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

He also mentioned her telling police she didn't know Reardon. Hollett said this pattern does not fit in with Norris's history of delusions and filing complaints with police.

When Norris was interviewed by Dr. Ladha, she told him she kept hitting Reardon until he was dead, Hollett said, showing she knew that hitting him would kill him and did it anyway. 

Follow along with the latest developments in the courtroom as the happen in our live blog.