Court hears details of Glen Race's mental state before murders
Published Monday, November 4, 2013 10:46AM AST Last Updated Monday, November 4, 2013 7:12PM AST
HALIFAX -- In the weeks before Glen Race murdered two Halifax men in 2007, he wasn't taking medication to treat his schizophrenia and he was showing signs of psychiatric distress by practising odd rituals aimed at keeping "demons and vampires" at bay, says an agreed statement of facts presented in court Monday.
Race, 32, pleaded guilty in September to first-degree murder in the death of Trevor Brewster and second-degree murder in Michael Knott's death. However, Race's lawyer, Joel Pink, has filed an application to have his client declared not criminally responsible because he was too mentally ill.
Outside court, Crown lawyer Mark Heerema said three psychiatrists who will testify this week have come to a consensus on Race's mental state in May 2007.
"There appears to be unanimity amongst the experts that Mr. Race, in their opinion, is not criminally responsible," he said.
Nova Scotia Supreme Court Judge Kevin Coady has not entered convictions so that Pink's application can be heard.
During the hearing Monday, Race sat passively beside his lawyer. Dressed neatly in a brown shirt and green cotton pants, he was clean-shaven and had short, slicked back hair.
His appearance stood in stark contrast to the images relayed after his arrest in May 2007. At the time, he appeared filthy, his hair wild and curly and his eyes firmly closed in virtually every photograph.
The 30-page statement of facts offers chilling new details about Race's mental condition prior to the murders and the high level of preparation and methodical precision he used to kill the two men, dispose of their bodies and evade justice.
The statement says Race's mental stability first came into question in 2000 when he was a 19-year-old student studying mechanical engineering at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
At that time, he started skipping classes, taking illicit drugs and withdrawing from his friends while complaining about feeling paranoid. In the following months, he lost weight, isolated himself in his parents' basement and spoke of the need to "cleanse" himself.
The statement describes how Race was later diagnosed with depression and schizophrenia, but he often refused to take medication and had no insight into his deteriorating condition.
"His family had difficulty accepting the diagnosis and was uncomfortable with him being treated against his will," the statement says.
The statement chronicles Race's admissions to various hospitals, where he would typically agree to take medication but stop when he escaped or was discharged.
Over seven years, Race is described as becoming more violent and disconnected from reality, at one point painting his entire room and body white for "purification," the statement says.
There was a brief respite from his mental decline in the summer of 2006 when Race responded well to the anti-psychotic drug Clozapine, but his condition soon worsened without explanation.
By the spring of 2007, Race's parents noticed he was using salt to ward off perceived demons, and he often left rice outside their home to "feed the spirits." He also claimed to be able to speak to trees and he typically carried a knife when taking walks.
The statement says Race met Paul Michael Knott by chance on the night of May 1, 2007, on Citadel Hill in Halifax, where he stabbed him to death in the front seat of his car. An autopsy showed Knott suffered numerous wounds to his chest, neck and thigh during a violent struggle.
The court document says Knott, 44, was a father of two and a retired navy cook who had completed two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf and worked as a peacekeeper in Israel.
"Paul Knott had a private life which ... he preferred to keep private, " the statement says. "Paul was a homosexual who would occasionally attend areas where other men were known to meet each other," such as Citadel Hill, a historic fort in downtown Halifax.
Six days after Knott's death, Race had a "chance encounter" with Trevor Brewster some time before 1 a.m. near Frenchman's Lake, which is part of a Halifax-area industrial park.
Brewster, 45, was stabbed in the head and throat and he also suffered blunt trauma to his head, the statement says.
A restaurant employee for 24 years, Brewster was described as a "proud and open homosexual" who was known to frequent Frenchman's Lake, another area where men "were known to meet each other."
The statement does not speculate as to why Race killed the men. But their slayings prompted a rare warning from police at the time that people should use caution in areas where gay men cruise for sex.
The court heard how Race took the vehicles belonging to each victim, then removed their licence plates and hid them in remote locations before fleeing into the United States.
The court also heard how Race had earlier borrowed books from the library on travelling in Mexico, how to speak Spanish and how to conduct a private investigation.
Recordings from surveillance cameras shown in court showed Race trying to obtain funds through several bank machines by using a number of credit cards.
Within a day of illegally entering the U.S. near Havelock, Que., Race fatally shot 35-year-old Darcy Manor at a hunting camp near Mooers, N.Y., on May 10, 2007.
Race then took Manor's pickup and fled south, three times switching licence plates with other vehicles. He made it as far as the Mexican border near Los Indios, Texas, where he was arrested after a struggle with a U.S. border guard on May 15.
He was still carrying the rifle he used to shoot Manor, the statement says.
Race was later sentenced to life in prison in the U.S. for killing Manor. He was extradited from the United States in October 2010 to face charges in Halifax.
Pink said he plans to file an appeal of the U.S. conviction, based on new evidence he said wasn't presented in the New York case.