FREDERICTON — Matthew Raymond testified Thursday that he is "very sorry" he shot and killed four people in Fredericton in 2018, but at the time he felt it was something that had to be done to eliminate "demons" out to get him.
He is on trial for first-degree murder in the deaths of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright and Fredericton police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns. They were shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex on the city's north side.
The defence admits Raymond shot the victims, but it is trying to establish that he should be found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.
Raymond told the jury Wednesday that he thought people around him were "demons" coming to kill him and he needed to defend himself. He said he believed he had shot seven "demons."
The court heard that leading up to the Aug. 10, 2018 killings, he had barricaded himself inside his apartment for days and thought the "end of times" had begun. He had spent the night before the shootings writing so many numerology calculations and notes that his pen ran out of ink.
On Thursday, defence lawyer Nathan Gorham asked Raymond if he still believes he shot demons.
"I believe now they are people, and I'm very sorry for it," he replied. Raymond said he changed his view on demons while being treated in hospital in 2019 and now feels “horrible” for taking four lives.
Gorham asked what Raymond now believes about demons.
"They are non-existent in the real world," Raymond said. "They are existent in hell. That's the only place they are." He said he now believes that killing the four people was wrong, but at the time he felt "it had to be done."
Gorham showed video of numerous court appearances after Raymond's arrest when he was trying to fire his lawyers and accusing Gorham of withholding evidence.
"Looking back on those videos I can tell that I definitely wasn't in my right mind. Something was wrong," Raymond said Thursday.
The court has been told that Raymond is being treated with anti-psychotic medication and that he received his latest injection Wednesday. A number of times Thursday morning, Raymond had trouble remembering facts. After he said he was having difficulty concentrating, the court took a lengthy break.
When it resumed, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Larry Landry explained to the jury that he had been informed that after Raymond gets his injections, it takes about three days for the effects to attenuate.
"The person having this medication will have difficulty focusing, concentrating and participating fully in this trial," Landry said.
As a result, the trial has been adjourned until Monday, when Raymond will return to the witness stand.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020.
Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press