Andrew Murray had 'taken mother's life' long before shooting her in alcohol-withdrawal psychosis, sister says

"In the years leading to her death, you had already taken her life," a Calgary woman said at an emotional sentencing hearing for Andrew Douglas Murray, who shot their mother while in an alcohol-induced psychotic disorder.

Calgary man was hearing voices in his head in the days before he killed his mother, Lois Murray

Andrew Douglas Murray shot his mother in the back of the head, while in an alcohol-induced psychotic disorder brought on by withdrawal. His sister and father gave powerful testimony about the impact of Lois Murray's death at his sentencing hearing Monday. (CBC)

Through tears and with the Calgary Police Service's trauma dog Hawk by her side, Lisa Shaw described for the court what it was like to lose her mother at her brother's hand when she was five months pregnant with her first child.

"The same day you took Mom, you took me," Shaw told her brother, Andrew Douglas Murray, as his sentencing hearing began Monday. "I feel bad for wishing it was someone else, anyone else. For wishing it was you."

The Calgary man shot his mother, Lois Murray, in the back of the neck while staying at her home for the Thanksgiving weekend in October 2013.

Originally charged with first-degree murder, Murray pleaded guilty to manslaughter last June.

A forensic psychiatric assessment found Murray suffered an alcohol-induced psychotic disorder brought on by withdrawal at the time of the killing, according to an agreed statement of facts.

At Monday's sentencing hearing, Shaw said her mother had been her best friend and described how she had fantasized about spending every day of her maternity leave together.

Lois Murray wanted her son to get clean, court heard Monday from her husband, Colin Murray. 'She was his biggest supporter.' (CBC)

"In the years leading to her death, you had already taken her life," said Shaw of her mother's efforts to get Murray sober.

The destruction you have caused is sometimes just a ripple beneath the surface and sometimes a tidal wave.- Lisa Shaw, whose mother was killed by her brother

"It is my hope that you will honour our mother's greatest wish and get sober."

Shaw paused to gather herself, then told her brother that despite her hopes and prayers for him, their relationship was over.

"The destruction you have caused is sometimes just a ripple beneath the surface and sometimes a tidal wave," she said.

"It's not just Mom who will be missing when you reach the other side of prison."

Mother called 'biggest supporter' in son's attempts to get sober

Murray's father, Colin, also testified at the sentencing hearing, painting a picture of his son's battle with alcohol that began when he was in high school. 

He said his son sometimes tried to quit — including two stints in a treatment facility — but had relapsed every time.

Colin said his wife wanted her son to get clean. 

"She was his biggest supporter," said Colin Murray.

Murray said he was hearing voices for days

After the shooting, Murray called 911 and waited outside for emergency responders to arrive.

"I just murdered my mom," Murray told a 911 operator.

He was found sitting on the curb outside her home and arrested at the scene.

He told the 911 operator and police that he'd been hearing voices in his head for about five days leading up to the killing.

At the time, Murray — who had been an alcoholic for a decade — had recently gotten out of a treatment facility.

The sentencing hearing is to continue. The judge will also hear from a forensic psychiatrist. 

It's still unclear what the prosecution and defence will propose for a sentence.


  • An earlier version of this story stated Andrew Murray had originally been charged with second-degree murder. He was actually charged with first-degree murder.
    May 27, 2016 6:36 PM MT