Matthew Vincent Raymond is taken from Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton on Friday, March 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Psychiatrist tells Fredericton trial that accused killer Raymond has schizophrenia

Psychiatrist tells Fredericton trial that accused killer Raymond has schizophrenia

FREDERICTON — A forensic psychiatrist testifying at the murder trial of Matthew Raymond told jurors Wednesday that the accused suffers from schizophrenia.

Dr. Julian Gojer, the final witness for the defence, said Raymond’s symptoms escalated in 2017, and the accused was having delusions and suffering from thought disorder and cognitive impairment.

Raymond is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2018 deaths of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright and Fredericton Police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns.

The defence admits their client killed the victims but argues he should be found not criminally responsible because of a mental illness.

Gojer, who started seeing Raymond shortly after his arrest, said he had delusions of persecution and grandiose delusions that God had a special purpose for him. He said Raymond thought God had given him a power to identify demons.

The doctor said the accused had “bizarre” ideas about “connecting numbers to people and identifying them as demons.” He said Raymond also had delusions that animals were talking to him.

Jurors have heard evidence that Raymond believed people around him were demons and that he needed to defend himself.

Gojer said five per cent of people with schizophrenia end up killing themselves, while a smaller number kill other people. Raymond didn’t believe he had a mental disorder and fought doctors trying to treat him, the doctor told jurors.

“At different periods of time, almost all features of schizophrenia were seen,” Gojer said. Raymond’s delusions about certain people and politicians being demons “mushroomed,” he explained, extending to more people — even to the accused’s mother.

Gojer, who sat in on testimony during the trial and reviewed the evidence presented, said the only person Raymond believed wasn’t a demon was Raymond himself.

Gojer’s testimony was put on hold Wednesday afternoon as lawyers discussed legal matters without the jury present.

Testimony is scheduled to continue Thursday morning.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2020.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

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