A Toronto jury found Richard Kachkar not criminally responsible in the death of Sgt. Ryan Russell, a police officer who was struck and killed while trying to stop a stolen snowplow as it weaved its way through the city’s snowy downtown streets more than two years ago.
Media reports poured from the court Wednesday afternoon, the third day of jury deliberations in the first-degree murder trial. It was never in question whether Kachkar was behind the wheel of the fatal snowplow, only what mental state the 46-year-old man was in at the time.
The verdict was a disappointment the Russell’s widow, who reacted in court when the decision was announced. According to CTV Toronto’s Austin Delaney, Christine Russell bowed her head before insulting the man who killed her husband.
Sgt Russell's Widow tells kachkar to go to hell f#*ker as he leaves court in cuffs
— austin delaney (@AustinCTV) March 27, 2013
The Crown had alleged that Kachkar knew Russell was a police officer and purposely struck him with the snowplow on the morning of Jan. 12, 2011. Kachkar pleaded not guilty and his lawyers said he was not in the right state of mind at the time.
Various witnesses, including a paramedic, testified that Kachkar seemed “emotionally disturbed” at the time. A doctor testified Kachkar was either schizophrenic or had a psychotic disorder of some sort.
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Video of the incident obtained from Russell's cruiser shows the snowplow do a U-turn and advance on the officer, before striking the vehicle. Off camera, Russell was also struck by the plow. His last recorded words were, "He's coming at me, hold on."
Witnesses reported hearing Kachkar shouting about the Taliban and claiming the whole thing was a “Russian video game.”
Kachkar has been remanded into custody and will remain in a psychiatric care facility, under the purview of the Ontario Review Board.