New Brunswick

Fredericton shooting suspect expected to plead not guilty

The man accused of killing four people, including two police officers, in Fredericton earlier this month is expected to plead not guilty, according to his lawyer.

Matthew Vincent Raymond 'looking forward to defending this case,' lawyer says

Matthew Vincent Raymond, charged with four counts of first-degree murder, leaves provincial court in Fredericton on Monday. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

The man accused of killing four people, including two police officers, in Fredericton earlier this month is expected to plead not guilty, according to his lawyer.

Defence lawyer Nathan Gorham said a final decision on the plea would be made following the Crown's disclosure of evidence and a possible preliminary hearing. His client, Matthew Vincent Raymond, made his first court appearance on Monday. 

"He's in shock," Gorham said of Raymond. "But he's looking forward to defending this case vigorously."

Nathan Gorham, a lawyer who practices in Toronto and Saint John, speaks to reporters outside the Fredericton courthouse on Monday. He is representing Matthew Vincent Raymond, 48, who is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the shooting incident on Aug. 10. (Maria Burgos/CBC)

Raymond, 48, shackled and wearing an orange prisoner jumpsuit, was escorted by sheriff's deputies into the courthouse. He remained quiet during the proceeding and kept his head bowed.

He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Fredericton Police Force Constables Robb Costello, 45, and Sara Burns, 43, and civilians Donnie Robichaud, 42, and Bobbie Lee Wright, 32.

Raymond is charged with killing two Fredericton police officers and two civilians on Aug. 10 0:51

Gorham suggested it's unlikely his client will enter a plea during his next court appearance, Sept. 24, which will focus on the disclosure and next steps.

But he said he doesn't expect to receive "much of a disclosure" because Crown prosecutor Darlene Blunston requested a return in early October to allow enough time to prepare the "large" disclosure of evidence.

More than 50 people, including the families of Robichaud and Wright, were inside the courtroom Monday morning, where Judge Julian Dickson presided.

The proceeding touched on the release of the disclosure and a publication ban of a piece of pre-trial evidence.

In this artist's sketch, Raymond sits in provincial court in Fredericton. (James Vincent Walsh/Canadian Press)

Gorham, a defence lawyer who practises in Saint John and Toronto, represents Raymond and was appointed by the government. 

"I will honestly assist my client and I will help him obtain what the law offers for him," Gorham said. "At the same time, however, I can feel a sense of sadness and a sense of tragedy here." 

On Monday afternoon, Gorham told reporters that the alleged shooter is in "shock and poor physical condition." 

Police have said all four victims were hit by bullets from a long gun fired from the third storey of an apartment building on Brookside Drive on the city's north side on Aug. 10.

The suspect was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital with serious injuries after being shot in the abdomen by police, a court document revealed.

Gorham told reporters that the alleged shooter is in "poor physical condition" and still receiving medical treatment following his release from hospital last week.

He was considered to be in serious but stable condition and remained in hospital until last Thursday, when he was transferred to an undisclosed provincial correctional facility, according to a Department of Justice and Public Safety spokesperson.

"The specific location cannot be released for security reasons," Alexandra Davis said in an email to CBC News. "No further information will be provided regarding this subject."

​Fredericton police responded to reports of gunfire at the apartment complex at 7:10 a.m. 

Costello and Burns, the first officers to arrive at 237 Brookside Dr., Building C, were shot and killed trying to help two civilians — later identified as couple Robichaud and Wright.

Raymond had been living in the apartment building for about four months, CBC News has learned.

Police have said Raymond had a licence to possess firearms and legally purchased the long gun he's alleged to have used in the shooting.

At a news conference Aug. 11, police said they were looking for a connection between Raymond and the civilian victims.

Const. Robb Costello, 45, and Const. Sara Burns, 43, were shot and killed trying to help Donald Adam Robichaud, 42, and his girlfriend Bobbie Lee Wright, 32.

With files from Catherine Harrop and Karissa Donkin