This is part of my ongoing series on Canadian Mass Murders.
On August 10, 2018, ten children lost a parent when one colossally stupid 48-year-old man chose to take out his rage against the world on four innocent people.
Murdered that terrible day were:
- Fredericton Police Force Constable Sara Mae Helen Burns, mother of three
- Fredericton Police Force Constable Lawrence Robert Costello, father of four
- Donnie Robichaud, father of three, and
- Bobbie Lee Wright, Robichaud’s girlfriend
Their accused murderer, Matthew Vincent Raymond, was eventually disarmed by other members of the Fredericton Police Force, but not soon enough to save the lives of these four victims.
What We Know
Matthew Vincent Raymond positioned himself at the third-floor window of an apartment building in Fredericton, New Brunswick, at 7am, a loaded rifle in hand, and began shooting.
Matthew Raymond faces four counts of first-degree murder and will likely stand trial in September 2020.
What We Don’t Know
What nobody knows is why.
Why did Matthew Raymond shoot and kill Donnie Robichaud and Robichaud’s new girlfriend, Bobbie Lee Wright, as they packed up their car for a weekend getaway?
Why did Matthew Raymond shoot and kill the first two responding police officers, Fredericton Police Force Constables Sara Burns and Lawrence Costello?
Did his “ignorant and uninformed” hatred of Syrian refugees have anything to do with it? If so, why murder people with no connection to Syrian refugees?
Unfit To Stand Trial
On October 4, 2019, a jury ruled Matthew Raymond was unfit to stand trial. This means he could not, at that time, understand the charges against him or properly instruct a lawyer.
This is not the same as not criminally responsible, which deals with the killer’s mental state at the time of the murders, and defence counsel readily admits his client, Matthew Raymond, is the killer.
“Mr. Raymond was the shooter, said Nathan Gorham. “We all know that. The issue is what was his mental disorder and what impact did that mental disorder have.”
As a result of the jury’s determination, Matthew Raymond was sent to Restigouche Hospital Centre, a psychiatric facility, to undergo a 60-day evaluation which includes anti-psychotic medication to deal with his “current condition” – a condition which was not identified to the public.
“We think it [the jury’s verdict Raymond is not fit to stand trial] was a very fair decision, and we’re pleased to see that one of the important safeguards in our system worked properly,” Gorham said.
“The fitness provisions allow the parties to raise the issue of fitness when there is reasonable grounds concerning whether the person by reason of a mental disorder is unable to participate in their defence, either by understanding the nature of the proceedings or by instructing their counsel. It ensures we only have to do trials once and avoids mistrials or appeals by ensuring that the trial is fair the first go-around,” he concluded.
He will stand trial for first-degree murder once he is deemed mentally fit to do so.
Gorham said his client “has been anxious for the last 10 months that we have the trial as quickly as possible. We are thankful that we are on the home stretch here and hopefully will be getting to trial soon.”
Matthew Vincent Raymond is currently on anti-psychotic medication, against his will, and is doing well, according to Dr. Ralph Holly.
Murder Trial Scheduled Despite COVID-19 Delays
On September 28, 2020, Matthew Vincent Raymond will stand trial on four counts of first-degree murder, said Justice Fred Ferguson of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench.
Before that trial can take place, however, there will be a second “fitness” trial scheduled for August 17, 2020, at which a second jury will decide if the killer is now fit to face the charges against him.
…more as this case continues to unfold…