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Jurors in N.B. mass murder trial hear recordings of accused killer in detention


FREDERICTON — A lawyer for the accused Fredericton mass shooter says his client repeatedly demanded to be released from detention and often refused to take legal advice during their meetings together in 2019.

Defence lawyer Alex Pate returned to the witness stand Thursday to discuss video and audio recordings of court appearances and meetings involving suspect Matthew Raymond.

Raymond, 50, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the 2018 deaths of Donnie Robichaud, Bobbie Lee Wright and Fredericton police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns.

The suspect is heard in many of the recordings accusing lawyers and the judge of working against him and saying they should be arrested. 

Defence lawyer Nathan Gorham showed jurors handwritten notes Raymond had given to Pate.

Pate told the jury Raymond had referred to the notes as "legal documents" dealing with a court-imposed publication ban and with something called SWEN -- the word news spelled backwards. 

The defence lawyer told jurors that during a meeting with Raymond, the accused wanted a change of clothes because he believed he was about to be released.

Raymond claimed to have millions of dollars in the bank, Pate said, and that he wanted to change his name to Vincent Matthews and move to another province where he couldn't be identified. 

Pate said the accused, whose middle name is Vincent, refused to let that name be used in court. 

In one of the recordings played to jurors, Raymond screamed, "You can't say my middle name!" 

The defence is trying to prove Raymond should be found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

In another recording, jurors listened to a meeting between Raymond and his lawyers in a room at the Fredericton courthouse. Raymond told Gorham to "shut up" and said his lawyers are against him. 

"I want to help you, Matthew," Gorham told Raymond. 

Jurors watched a recording of a fitness hearing in October 2019 during which Raymond yells, "Release me! There will be no trial for me."

"The news has gone against me, courtesy of Trudeau," Raymond said, seemingly referring to the prime minister. 

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Claude Hache, Pate testified that the content found on Raymond's computer changed over time, from cycling and firearms in 2015 and 2016, to Canadian immigration issues in the spring of 2017.

Pate said that around May 2017, Raymond began viewing content about conspiracy theories and hoaxes and began chatting with people online who shared his views about the presence of demons in society.

The trial continues on Friday. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2020.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

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