Review board recommends transfer to Ontario for killer Gregory Despres

Relatives of the elderly Minto couple who died violently in 2005 stormed out of a courtroom after a New Brunswick review board recommended that Gregory Depres be transferred to a mental health facility in Ontario. 

Depres was found guilty in 2008 for the murders of his neighbours Fred Fulton, 74, and Verna Decarie, 70, but the judge ruled he wasn't criminally responsible because he was suffering from delusions stemming from paranoid schizophrenia.

At a regular review of his case Thursday, the review board agreed to a recommendation from Depres' doctor to transfer him to another facility, based on his lack of progress, despite objections from four relatives of the victims. 

Three of those relatives left the courtroom as the decision was read.  

Fred Fulton's daughter-in-law, Mary-Kennedy Fulton, stopped to talk to reporters on the way out of the Moncton courthouse.

"He's not criminally responsible so what he wants has to be taken in to consideration, but he hasn't started treatment … will that happen when he goes to Ontario? Why would it be any different?" she said.

Not reasonable to 'ask us to do more'

Psychatrist Louis Theriault has treated Depres at the Shepody Healing Centre, part of Dorchester prison, for years. He told the board that while Depres is compliant and takes his medications, he refuses to talk about what happened or take part in treatment programs.

Theriault told the review board he would keep "coming here year after year saying the same thing."

Theriault said there is no facility to transfer Despres to in New Brunswick, and the closest high-security psychiatric facility where English is spoken is the Waypoint Health Centre for Mental Health in Penetanguishene, Ontario.

He said a change in atmosphere might be beneficial, and that it was not reasonable for the review board to "ask us to do more" with Despres.

CBC

Theriault estimated there is a 10 to 15 per cent possibility for potential improvement for Despres at another facility.

Relatives of victims opposed the transfer

Four relatives of the victims addressed the review board and opposed the transfer.

Brenda Case, Fred Fulton's niece, said she keeps coming to the hearings for "Papa and Verna." She said although she keeps hoping Despres will show remorse, he shows none.

Sandra Martin, Verna Decarie's daughter, was in tears as she read her statement.

She said even though her mother has been gone for 14 years, it still feels like "last night," and she finds it difficult to face the "monster" who killed her mother.

Martin said Despres has not not tried to get any help.

Depres described as 'stagnant'

Despres refused to have a lawyer represent him at the review board hearing, and spoke only briefly, acknowledging that he'd been arrested for two murders. 

"I think I should be released or transferred," he told the board.

He talked about getting his pilot's licence recently and said he wanted to be transferred to a "medium-security" facility in Ontario.

But he agreed with Theriault when the doctor interjected to say, "I think you are a high-security case."  

Crown prosecutor Rebekah Logan described Despres as "stagnant" and pointed out he has made no progress.

She also said a transfer would hamper the victims in this case, and requested a two-year period before the next hearing is held.

Despres objected, saying "They're throwing me to the wolves."

Transfer could take months

The three-member board eventually agreed to the transfer, and scheduled a subsequent hearing for 24 months from now.

The board pointed out the transfer is just a recommendation and could take months.

The attorneys general's office in New Brunswick has to agree and the attorney general's office in Ontario also has to be consulted.

CBC

After the hearing, Fulton's daughter-in-law said she's not sure what will happen if Despres is transferred to Ontario.

"We've always had the option of just writing a victim impact statement. We've always chosen to come here," she said. "For some very sad, personal reasons I don't know if I would go to Ontario. Right now I wouldn't. Maybe in 24 months I might feel differently. But we would at the very least write a report."