Defence lawyer says not guilty plea expected in Fredericton shootings case
FREDERICTON -- The lawyer for a Fredericton man, accused of killing four people, including two city police officers in a shooting spree this month, says he expects to eventually enter pleas of not guilty, and request a preliminary hearing.
Nathan Gorham, a New Brunswick based lawyer who practices out of Saint John and Toronto, made the comment outside the courthouse, shortly after Matthew Vincent Raymond made a brief court appearance Monday morning.
Raymond said nothing as he faced a Fredericton judge on four counts of murder in the deaths of Const. Sara Burns, Const. Robb Costello, Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.
Raymond, 48, wore orange jail clothing and leg shackles as sheriffs officers helped him cautiously exit a sheriff's van.
He looked down at the ground for much of the morning's events, but observers noted he is slim, has short hair, is balding and has a greying beard.
The court appearance was the first time the media has been able to provide visual images of Raymond, other than a fuzzy yearbook picture from his teenaged years.
The police officers and civilians were gunned down Aug. 10 outside an apartment complex in the New Brunswick capital. It ended after police shot the alleged gunman in the abdomen, according to court documents.
Raymond moved slowly and tentatively as he was led in and out of the court.
Gorham said his client is in fairly poor physical condition but he is receiving medical treatment and is now out of hospital.
On Monday, Regional Sheriff George Oram cautioned everyone in the courtroom against any outbursts.
Members of the victims' families were among about 70 people assembled in the packed courtroom for his appearance. They left without speaking to reporters.
Security at the courthouse was tight, and a large section of parking lot was cordoned off, with sheriffs' vehicles used to block some of the view of the courthouse entrance where Raymond was brought in.
The defence presented Judge Julian Dickson with a piece of evidence but the provincial court judge imposed a publication ban on anything to do with it.
Gorham said they were unable to proceed with the case Monday because the lawyers are still awaiting disclosure -- or release of the findings of the police investigation.
"I expect that his plea will be not guilty and that we'll be requesting a preliminary inquiry but we can't make that decision until after I've received the disclosure," Gorham said.
Crown Prosecutor Darlene Blunston said she had been told not to expect the first portion of that disclosure until the first week of October.
Dickson adjourned the case until Sept. 24.
Gorham said if he has not received disclosure by that point, he'll again be asking to receive it, and the case will be set over for another date.
The opportunity to enter pleas will come once the case is sent to the Court of Queen's Bench.
Costello, 45, was a 20-year police veteran with four children, while Burns, 43, had been an officer for two years and was married with three children.
Robichaud, 42, had three children and had recently entered into a relationship with 32-year-old Wright when they were killed.
Thousands of police officers and first responders from across the continent travelled to Fredericton to attend a regimental funeral for Burns and Costello.
Friends and acquaintances of Raymond have offered varying memories of the accused murderer.
Some have recalled how he retreated for long periods of time into video games, while others recall a pleasant supermarket co-worker.
Recent accounts describe an increasingly isolated loner who was ejected from a bicycle shop and asked to leave a cafe for erratic behaviour.