New Brunswick

Matthew Tucker found guilty of 2nd-degree murder in mother's death

Matthew Tucker has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 death of his mother, Dorothy Tucker of Oak Haven, near St. Stephen.

Crown and defence differed on seriousness of Matthew Tucker's mental state

Matthew Tucker is found guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of his mother. 1:53

Matthew Tucker has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 death of his mother, Dorothy Tucker, of Oak Haven, near St. Stephen.

The 36-year-old man showed little reaction to the verdict.

Second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no eligibility of parole for a minimum of 10 years.

Following the verdict, Justice William Grant sent the jurors back to see if they could agree on a sentencing recommendation on how long Tucker should serve in prison before becoming eligible for parole.

The jury declined to make a recommendation.

Grant set Dec. 13 as the date for a sentencing hearing, where the Crown and defence will put forward their recommendations for parole eligibility.

Tucker did not testify

Tucker did not testify in the trial and the defence did not call any witnesses.

Earlier in the day, the Crown and defence offered sharply differing views of Matthew Tucker's mental state as they made final arguments at his second-degree murder trial.

Tucker was charged in the shooting death of his mother in November 2014.

Hunters found Dorothy's body in woods near St. Stephen 10 days after she disappeared from the home she shared with her son in Oak Haven, near St. Stephen.

Hours before her disappearance, Matthew Tucker flagged down RCMP officers in Oromocto and asked to be taken to hospital.

The officers described a man who was fearful, shaking and talking of a disembodied head he was seeing in the woods.

Matthew Tucker, 35, of Oak Haven, was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his mother, Dorothy Tucker. (CBC)
But Crown prosecutor Jill Knee reminded jurors that Dr. Linda Hebb, an emergency room physician at Oromocto Public Hospital, said Tucker calmed down after talking with her for a few minutes.

She determined he was not a candidate for a Form 1 under the Mental Health Act, which would have allowed hospital officials to hold him against his will, if necessary, for treatment.

Knee told jurors Tucker later loaded a gun, shot his mother, disposed of her body and tried to deflect the blame onto others.

She described blood-stained blue jeans that bore the DNA of both Matthew and Dorothy Tucker, along with the blood stains and shotgun pellets found in the bedroom.

"It comes together," said Knee. "The evidence has come together."

Sees no motive

Defence lawyer Brian Ferguson told the jury the Crown had not presented any evidence of a motive that would have driven Matthew Tucker to kill his mother.

He asked the jury to consider Tucker's state of mind carefully.

He reminded them that Oromocto RCMP Const. Valarie Caron grew more concerned with every minute she spent with Matthew Tucker after he flagged down her cruiser.

He referred to Caron's testimony that Tucker cried when his mother's name was mentioned.

Left gun out in open

He also said Matthew Tucker let police officers into the family home when they arrived looking for his mother following a missing person report.

Furthermore, a shotgun and blood-covered plastic were left in plain view, Ferguson said.

Jurors had the options of finding Tucker not guilty, guilty of manslaughter or guilty of second-degree murder.

With files from Connell Smith