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Psychiatrist testifies at Fredericton murder trial that shooter had schizophrenia

Psychiatrist testifies at Fredericton murder trial that shooter had schizophrenia

FREDERICTON — A psychiatrist says the man on trial for the murder of four people in Fredericton two years ago has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Dr. Ralph Holly testified Friday at the trial of Matthew Raymond, who is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright and Fredericton police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns.

They were shot and killed in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Aug. 10, 2018.

The Crown and defence have agreed that Raymond shot the victims and that he has a mental disorder. The defence is trying to prove that Raymond should be found not criminally responsible because the mental disorder rendered him incapable of appreciating the nature of his actions and that they were wrong.

Holly told the jury he first saw Raymond in October 2019 when the accused was sent to the Restigouche Hospital Centre for treatment after initially being found unfit to stand trial.

“He was not making sense when I saw him,” Holly said. “He was very agitated and thought I was a fake doctor working for the government.”

The doctor said Raymond refused to take medication, and when a nurse tried to give him a shot, Raymond tried to punch them.

He said Raymond was having a delusion that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was against him and had just been talking about him on television.

Holly said once Raymond was on medication it was possible to carry on a conversation with him.

He said when he saw Raymond again in early 2020, he had stopped taking the medication and had poor hygiene, wasn’t sleeping and scored poorly on concentration tests. He said now that Raymond is back on medication again, “he’s not the same guy.”

Holly said he followed Raymond for almost a year, and any time he tried to get Raymond to talk about the shootings “he would try to avoid it.”

He said medication can affect memory, and some people don”t remember delusions or may have portions blocked out, while others don’t forget. But he said Raymond never spoke of the events of Aug. 10, 2018.

Holly’s testimony ended the fourth week of the trial. Much of the testimony for the defence so far has concerned images, videos and conspiracy theory websites Raymond had been viewing on his computer before the killings.

Earlier Friday, one of the 12 jurors was dismissed. Justice Larry Landry of the Court of Queen’s Bench told the remaining 11 jurors the trial will continue and they should not speculate on the reason for dismissing the jury member.

The trial continues next week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2020.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press