Calgary

Andrew Murray should spend up to 15 years in prison for killing mother: Crown

Though Andrew Murray was suffering from alcohol-induced psychosis when he shot his mother, his crime was "near murder" and he should spend 12 to 15 years in prison, said prosecutor Susan Kennedy at his sentencing hearing Friday afternoon.

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

Andrew Douglas Murray, 29, was arrested Thanksgiving Day after his mother died from a gunshot wound. (CBC)

Though Andrew Murray was suffering from alcohol-induced psychosis when he shot his mother, his crime was "near murder" and he should spend 12 to 15 years in prison, said prosecutor Susan Kennedy at his sentencing hearing Friday afternoon.

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.

Murray's lawyers, Jim Lutz and Jillian Williamson, are asking for a six-year sentence.

With enhanced credit for the time he's already served, Murray has already spent the equivalent of four years behind bars since his arrest.

Over the 2013 Thanksgiving weekend, at some point, Murray got a shotgun from his parents' basement, chased his mother around the home and shot her after she fell down while running away from him.

"She didn't stand a chance," said Kennedy.

Lois Murray was killed in her home Thanksgiving weekend in 2013. (CBC)

In February, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Beth Hughes heard emotional victim impact statements from Lois Murray's husband and daughter.

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. "I feel bad for wishing it was someone else, anyone else. For wishing it was you."

Murray's future, argued Kennedy, "rests almost exclusively with his relationship with alcohol."

"The impact on the Murray family ... has been utterly profound and devastating," said Kennedy. 

Lois Murray has been described as her son's biggest supporter.

Though in his arguments, Lutz told Hughes his client's goal is to eventually reconnect with his family.

"The loss of his mother ... is something that he's reminded of every single day," said Lutz.

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.

After the shooting, Murray called 911 and waited outside. When emergency responders arrived, he was found sitting on the curb.

Murray 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 been released from a treatment facility.

Hughes will make her decision on Murray's sentence on June 28.

Corrections

  • 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 6:43 PM MT

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