Glen Race to appeal U.S. murder conviction
Halifax's Michael Paul Knott and Trevor Brewster, New York State's Darcy Manor, killed in May 2007
A Nova Scotia man who believed he was a warrior dispatched to kill vampires and demons is appealing his U.S. murder conviction and life sentence.
In 2014, Glen Race was found not criminally responsible for the May 2007 deaths of two Halifax men, Trevor Brewster and Michael Knott, after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in Knott's death and first-degree murder for killing Brewster.
Before that, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2009 for the killing of a third man, Darcy Manor, in upstate New York.
While he admitted to the crimes, Race's Canadian lawyer Joel Pink successfully argued in Nova Scotia Supreme Court his client should be found not criminally responsible in the fatal stabbings because of mental illness.
Race's family and Pink do not believe he received a fair trial in New York and they're now fighting to have the case heard again.
'He's a very sick boy'
The family has hired a lawyer in New York to bring about the appeal. The main ground for that appeal will be the ineffective assistance of counsel, as it's called in the U.S. justice system.
"It's definitely warranted but whether or not they will be successful, that's another question, but we're hoping that they will be in order for him to get a new trial," said Pink.
He has stayed in contact with Race via email.
"Unfortunately, you can't make much from his letters. I'm of the view he's a very sick boy … He doesn't understand schizophrenia at all. He just doesn't believe in it," said Pink.
U.S. allows for appeals any time
Appeals work differently in Nova Scotia than in the U.S.
In Nova Scotia you have 30 days to file an appeal. In the U.S., a convicted person can file an appeal at any time, either citing ineffective use of counsel or if new evidence surfaces.
Pink said the Race family is hoping "the truth will come out. That Glen, at the time of the offence in New York, he was suffering from a mental disorder which rendered him incapable of appreciating the nature … of his act or knowing that his act was wrong."
In the U.S., a plea of not criminally responsible is referred to as not guilty by reason of insanity, or NGRI.
Expert witness was 'wrong'
Pink said the prosecution handling the case in the U.S. was relying on the report from that state's expert witness, Dr. Angela Hegarty, whose report came to the defence shortly after the trial began.
He said Dr. Hegarty's report states she believes Race was malingering, exaggerating or feigning his illness.
"She bases that on some psychological that she, herself, performed," said Pink.
"When the matter came to Canada, her report was examined by two forensic psychologists and both had determined that she has misinterpreted the results of her tests. So therefore, the basis of her finding, saying that Glen Race was malingering, is wrong."
There has also been criticism about how Race's U.S. defence attorney handled the case south of the border.
"I was absolutely shocked when I found out that he was dropping the NGRI plea and was coming up with some circumstantial evidence argument, which would never … a first-year law student would know better than that," he said.
"Let's hope that justice is going to be done eventually, and that is that Glen Race gets a new trial."
Violent killing spree left 3 dead
The case before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court — like the previous American trial — was complicated by the amount of planning Race demonstrated both before and after the killings. Court heard Race stabbed Knott to death after meeting him on Citadel Hill on May 1, 2007. He dumped Knott's body in Mill Cove, a remote spot west of Halifax, and disposed of his car near the airport.
Seven days later, Race attacked Brewster in a Dartmouth park. He concealed the body under a boardwalk at a lake, then took off in Brewster's car.
Race drove the car to Quebec before he concealed it on a remote road and sneaked across the border into New York state. There, Race killed a third man — Darcy Manor — and stole his pickup truck.
Race drove Manor's truck south, stealing licence plates along the way to make the truck harder to track. He made it to within a few metres of the Mexican border before being caught.
The three forensic psychiatrists testified that despite all the planning Race demonstrated before and after each killing, his delusional mental state meant he should not be held criminally responsible.
Court heard Race believed he was a godlike entity ordered by angels to cleanse the world of sin by killing vampires, demons and, eventually, everyone on the planet.