Killer Gregory Despres ordered to remain in New Brunswick secure psychiatric facility

·2 min read

MONCTON, N.B. — A New Brunswick man who was found not criminally responsible after brutally killing his elderly neighbours in 2005 was ordered Wednesday to remain under treatment in a secure psychiatric facility.

A trial in 2008 determined Gregory Despres was suffering delusions and schizophrenia when he killed 74-year-old Fred Fulton and 70-year-old Verna Decarie in their Minto, N.B., home. Both were stabbed to death and Fulton was decapitated with a homemade sword.

Despres was later arrested in Massachusetts and extradited back to Canada for trial. He had crossed into the United States at Calais, Maine, where border guards seized a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife and a chainsaw, but allowed him to proceed because he had American citizenship.

During a hearing Wednesday in Moncton, N.B., psychiatrist Dr. Louis Theriault told the New Brunswick Review Board there has been no real change in Despres's condition and that he constantly refuses treatment. "He is withdrawn. He doesn't socialize," Theriault said.

"I suspect there are still some under-the-radar delusional ideations that are existing," he added. "These ideations are grandiose and are not fully linked in reality."

Theriault said he believes Despres, 38, should remain at the Shepody Healing Centre at Dorchester Penitentiary because he would be a risk to society if released into the community.

Despres, he added, maintains his innocence and refuses to discuss the killings.

When a board member asked Despres Wednesday why he isn't accepting treatment from doctors, the man responded: "name, rank, number."

During the trial in 2007, the court was told Despres believed he was a pilot with an organization he referred to as the SSP or Super Space Patrol.

At one point during Wednesday's hearing, a board member referred to him as Mr. Despres, prompting Despres to quickly correct him, saying he was "Lt. Despres."

Two years ago, doctors at the Shepody Healing Centre sought to have Despres transferred to the Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton, N.B., or a mental health-care centre in Penetanguishene, Ont. The board said Wednesday that request was denied in 2019 by the province's attorney general.

Theriault said Despres is beginning to "stagnate" at Shepody and said he supports transferring him to another facility if it is approved by the board.

Despres said he wants a move for "a different change of scenery from Dorchester."

The board ordered Despres to remain at the Shepody Healing Centre. It is to meet again before the end of this year to discuss a possible transfer of Despres to the Restigouche Hospital Centre.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 17, 2021.

— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.

The Canadian Press