Crown cross-examines N.B. mass shooter about claims he was surrounded by 'demons'

·3 min read

FREDERICTON — The Crown began its cross-examination on Monday of Matthew Raymond, the man accused of the Fredericton mass shooting, suggesting he knew the victims were real people and not demons. 

Raymond, 50, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright and Fredericton police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns in the parking lot of an apartment complex in August 2018.

The defence admits Raymond shot the victims but is trying to prove that he should be found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder. Raymond has told the court he is sorry he shot dead four people, but said that at the time, he thought he needed to eliminate the "demons" out to get him.

On Monday, Crown prosecutor Jill Knee asked Raymond whether he was pointing his gun at the door of his apartment when police stormed in to arrest him on Aug. 10, 2018.

"I was lying on my back holding the rifle across my chest," Raymond replied. Knee asked if he knew police would be coming through the door.

"I was shooting demons. I was defending myself," Raymond said.

Before police stormed Raymond's unit, shots had been fired at windows of other apartments in the four-building complex. Knee asked Raymond if it was he who was shooting at people in the windows.

"Any demon that moved was attacking me. That's how I felt," Raymond told the court. Knee suggested that Raymond knew they were real people and not demons. 

"I thought it was demons and the end of times, and I was defending myself," Raymond replied. 

Knee said Raymond never described the people in the windows as demons when he was being evaluated by psychiatrists. Raymond replied that he was hiding that information because he thought everyone was a demon. He said he only came to the realization that he was wrong following treatment at the Restigouche hospital. 

Knee showed jurors newspapers, magazines and other items that were found on Raymond's bed. The images were inscribed with the words "hoax" and numbers such as 666. The prosecutor suggested Raymond laid them out for the police to find. Raymond denied that and said he thought it was "the end of times" and that anyone could have found those images. 

Knee is expected to continue her cross-examination Tuesday.

Earlier Monday, defence lawyer Nathan Gorham showed jurors more videos and pictures that Raymond had saved on his computer in the months leading up to the shootings. Raymond had been viewing videos on a conspiracy theory website run by someone who identifies himself as Rob Lee.

The accused said he had been reporting to Lee about people he had identified as "demons." He said that at the time, he believed he had the power to detect them. Raymond told jurors he had a falling out with Lee after identifying a particular person as a demon. He said he began to think Lee was "a deceiver."

Gorham asked what Raymond meant by that. Raymond replied, "A liar, not standing up for what he believed about demons."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2020.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press