New Brunswick

Crown concedes man had mental disorder when he shot 4 people in Fredericton

The Crown and defence have agreed the Fredericton man accused of four counts of first-degree murder was mentally ill when he shot two police officers and two civilians.

Defence still has to prove mental illness kept shooter from knowing what he was doing. or that it was wrong

Victims of the shooting from left to right: Constables Robb Costello, 45, and Sara Burns, 43, and civilians Donald Adam Robichaud, 42, and Bobbie Lee Wright, 32.

The Crown and defence have agreed the Fredericton man accused of four counts of first-degree murder was mentally ill when he shot two police officers and two civilians.

Crown prosecutor Darlene Blunston read an agreed statement of fact Friday afternoon. She said on Aug. 10, 2018, when Matthew Raymond shot and killed Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright, Robb Costello and Sara Burns, he "suffered from a mental disorder."

Justice Larry Landry explained to the jury this means the defence no longer has to prove this fact but will still have to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that Raymond's mental disorder made him incapable of "appreciating the nature and the quality" of his acts, or that it made him "unable to judge that his act was wrong."

Raymond, 50, has admitted to shooting Wright and Robichaud, then Fredericton police constables Burns and Costello at 237 Brookside Dr. in Fredericton on Aug. 10, 2018.

He has pleaded not guilty, and his defence lawyers are arguing he was not criminally responsible for the shooting on account of mental illness.

The statement of fact did not include what type of mental disorder. Crown and defence declined to comment Friday.

The jury will return Tuesday for the continuation of the trial.

How does this affect the jury's job?

On Sept. 15,  the first day of trial, Landry gave specific instructions to the jury about exactly what they have to decide after hearing all the evidence.

Friday's agreement narrows what they need to decide.

Previously, to find Raymond not criminally responsible, the jurors had to ask themselves two things: Is it more likely than not that Raymond was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the murders? And is it more likely than not that his mental disorder made him incapable at the time of appreciating the nature and quality of the act, or knowing it was wrong?

Friday's agreement takes out the first question, leaving the jury to decide only the second.

Mathew Raymond being brought into the Fredericton Convention Centre for the continuation of his trial. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

If they find his mental illness stopped him from realizing what he was doing was wrong, or that it stopped him from knowing what he was doing, they must find him not guilty. If they find his mental illness didn't have either of those effects, they must find him guilty — if they also find the Crown has proven he committed first-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tech crimes expert done his testimony

Earlier in the day Raymond's defence team attempted to specify the timeline and magnitude of their client's efforts to find demons online.

RCMP Cpl. Aaron Gallagher, a technology crimes expert, testified for the third day about what he found on Raymond's devices. He extracted thousands of photos and videos from Raymond's computer, GoPro camera and an external hard drive.

Some of the videos showed Raymond firing a shotgun at a target in the woods. He also found conspiracy theory videos related to demons and the occult.

A conspiracy theorist Raymond apparently watched was a YouTuber who identified himself as Rob Lee. Court previously heard Rob Lee is a YouTube conspiracy theorist who makes videos about demons and serpents being "among us," and "communicate" using occult numbers such as 666 and 33.

A shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle were entered into evidence. The Crown and defence agree Raymond used the rifle to kill four people on Aug. 10, 2018. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

Gallagher testified it's possible Raymond began downloading Rob Lee videos in August 2017. He also agreed it's possible Raymond's behaviour of identifying demons or serpents by their mouth, eyes and tongues began around the same time.

He testified this behaviour, of taking screenshots of people, filing them in different designed folders, and naming the files "serpent tongue" or "evil eyes," continued until July 2018, a month before the shooting.

The defence presented a document of 680 screenshots and photos taken from Raymond's hard drives. A sampling shown to the jury includes multiple photos of one person, with blue dots drawn around their mouths and eyes.

One was a photo of a woman wearing a cat-ear headband. The photo has an arrow pointing to the band, with words "symbol devil," written in blue.

On another photo of the woman, added writing says "Not all are scary ... that's how they GET YOU."

Gallagher was shown a photo of a middle-aged man with a beard, appearing to be mid-sentence. Words in the title of the image include "snake tongue."

"Can you see a snake tongue?" asked defence lawyer Nathan Gorham.

Gallagher said no.

"From my view, no snake tongue."

Gallagher testified he couldn't confirm for sure that Raymond has added those markings, as he could have downloaded the photos with the markings already done.

But he did agree that the marking style matches screen recordings of Raymond doing calculations on different images.

Before the lunch break, Gorham asked Gallagher if it's possible these photos "just scratch the surface" of the number of photos and screenshots found on Raymond's computer every month from August 2017 to July of 2018.

Gallagher agreed.

Gallagher was excused and was done with his testimony Friday.

Proceedings were paused briefly to deal with "implications" of a Supreme Court of Canada decision Thursday, according to Justice Larry Landry, but court continued as normal Friday.