Trial hears Fredericton shooter felt he was surrounded by 'demons,' had to fight his way out
Published Wednesday, October 28, 2020 11:52AM ADT Last Updated Wednesday, October 28, 2020 7:01PM ADT
FREDERICTON -- Matthew Raymond coolly described to the court Wednesday how he shot and killed four people outside his apartment building in 2018, testifying that he believed his victims were "demons" coming to kill him.
Raymond faces four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright and Fredericton police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns.
The defence admits Raymond, 50, shot the victims but is trying to prove that he should be found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.
Raymond told the court that on the morning of Aug. 10, 2018 he had been awake all night doing calculations and making notes. He said he determined that the "end of times" had begun and people around him were "demons" out to get him.
He said he altered his rifle to allow it to hold 10 bullets instead of five. "I thought the time was now or never to cut it off," Raymond told the jury. "The end of times was happening, and I had a right to defend myself."
Raymond said he thought there were a dozen "demons" outside his door and more would be coming. He said he loaded the gun and looked out the window. "I thought I was under attack. I saw a demon, and I fired," Raymond said.
Under questioning he said he fired at the person five times before noticing someone else in a car and firing at her twice. Defence lawyer Nathan Gorham asked Raymond what he was thinking. "I didn't have any actual thought," he replied.
Raymond's offered a mater-of-fact description of the killings as family members of the victims and his mother cried in the courtroom.
Raymond said he saw two other "demons" crouching by a car but he didn't shoot at them. He said he also saw "demons" in the windows of other buildings in the apartment complex. He shot at them and believed he hit them.
Raymond said two other people arrived and were walking one ahead of the other. "That unfortunately was the police," he told the court. Raymond said he shot the first officer in the side and then shot him three more times after he fell to the ground.
He said shooting the second officer was surreal. "I was looking at her and the gun went off," he said.
Gorham asked what Raymond's intent was. "To stop the attack," Raymond said. "To kill them."
Raymond said he later saw two other police officers, and as he pointed his rifle, one of the officers shot him in the abdomen. He described how police used tear gas before storming his apartment and taking him into custody.
Earlier in the day, Raymond described how he had barricaded himself inside his apartment after growing convinced that his neighbours were out to get him and he might have to use his guns to fight his way out of his apartment. He said he interpreted noises he was hearing as threats.
He said he was not sleeping and thought everyone was against him because he had staged a protest opposing immigration.
Gorham showed notes and calculations Raymond had in his apartment. Most of the calculations ended with numbers that Raymond said were indications of serpents and demons.
One of the notes read: "You serpents picked the wrong man to test. I am not alone. He's watching." Raymond testified that the calculations also told him that he was going to have to leave the apartment, "otherwise I was going to die there."
Raymond said he is unable to interpret many of the calculations and notes today, because he no longer holds the strong belief in demons that guided his actions in 2018.
"I don't know what the heck this gibberish means," he said. "It's gone out of my mind. I don't believe in it anymore."
Raymond's testimony will continue Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2020.