Widow of slain officer killed by snowplow delivers emotional impact statement
'Richard Kachkar stole a father from an innocent child,' Christine Russell tells hearing
The widow of slain Toronto police Sgt. Ryan Russell delivered a powerful and emotional victim impact statement on Friday.
"I took down our wedding photos," Christine Russell told the Ontario Review Board "I also boxed up all the baby things I had been saving for our second child.
"This crime has not only impacted me, it has also impacted our (four-year-old) son, Nolan. He was crying and hiding his face in his pillows sobbing," she said.
"Nolan is by far the biggest victim of this crime. Richard Kachkar stole a father from an innocent child."
Sgt. Russell was killed on Jan. 12, 2011, after he was struck by a stolen snowplow driven by Kachkar.
Russell, 35, was an 11-year veteran of the force. He was killed while trying to stop the plow as it sped wildly through snow-covered streets.
Kachkar was charged with first-degree murder, but in March, a jury found he was not criminally responsible for Russell’s death due to mental illness.
On Friday, his widow was given an opportunity to speak to the board that will determine which psychiatric facility will treat Kachkar.
"Richard Kachkar has caused all of us to be angry and all of us to have a lifetime of damage," she said.
When she arrived at the court on Friday morning, Russell spoke briefly with reporters, telling them she was nervous about the hearing.
The board, a panel of judges and doctors, will decide if Kachkar will be treated in a maximum or medium security psychiatric facility and whether or not he will be eligible for day passes.
The board will make its decision on Friday, but the decision will not be made public until next week.
The verdict of not criminally responsible means the legal system will treat Kachkar as someone who needs medical treatment — something that hasn't sat well with the widow.
"A verdict of not criminally responsible has too many loose ends. Ryan Russell was killed by Richard Kachkar," she said in her statement.
In a joint submission agreed to by both sides, the Crown and the defence are requesting that Kachkar be admitted to Ontario Shores in Whitby, Ont., a medium-security unit for patients with a mental illness, where he would be allowed escorted passes on hospital grounds.
Dr. Philip Klassen, who testified during Kachkar's trial, told the hearing Friday that Kachkar was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of Russell's death. Klassen also said he believes Kachkar's symptoms seem to be the type that "wax and wane" and could recur.
Klassen also said Kachkar has shown "significant dysfunction" in his life since 2004 and doesn't see any explanation other than a psychiatric disorder. He recommended a course of treatment that includes a trial of anti-psychotic medication.
He also said he didn't see any signs of a personality disorder in Kachkar, because he seemed to lead a functioning life until it began to "unravel" in 2004.