Four possible verdicts for Guy Turcotte – jurors to decide his fate

Four possible verdicts for Guy Turcotte – jurors to decide his fate

Main pic: Guy Turcotte arrives at the courthouse Monday, September 28, 2015 in Saint Jerome, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz.

Jurors sequestered at Guy Turcotte trial as they weigh four possible outcomes.

SAINT-JEROME, Que. — The jury deciding the fate of Guy Turcotte must first determine whether he was criminally responsible in the stabbing deaths of his children before they can consider possible verdicts.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Andre Vincent told jurors before they were sequestered Monday there are four possible outcomes: not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder or guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter.

The jurors must first examine the not criminally responsible defence put forth by Turcotte and determine if he was aware that what he was doing when he stabbed, Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3, was wrong.

Acquittal is not an option as Turcotte, 43, has admitted to causing the deaths in 2009.

Turcotte’s first murder trial ended with a verdict of not criminally responsible — a decision that was overturned by the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Vincent told jurors that experts on both sides are in agreement that Turcotte was suffering from a mental disorder — an adjustment disorder with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Defence experts testified that Turcotte was in an acute suicidal state and suffering from a major mental illness that prevented him from developing an intent to kill or to realize what he was doing was wrong.

One Crown psychiatrist countered, however, that the accused did not lose contact with reality the night he stabbed his kids and that his judgment was not altered.

Vincent reminded jurors that while the Crown must prove premeditation beyond a reasonable doubt, the mental disorder defence hinges on a balance of probabilities.

“Every reasonable effort should be made to come to a unanimous verdict,” Vincent said, adding jurors shouldn’t cast aside their doubts in the interest of a unanimous verdict.

The Crown completed its final arguments last week, saying the accused had decided to commit suicide and wanted to kill his children to ensure they weren’t raised by another man.

Earlier, Turcotte’s lawyer had argued his client was a loving father who would not have killed his children unless he was suffering from mental illness.

On Monday, Vincent told jurors their deliberations are secret and confidential and no one can ask them why they reached one verdict over another.

He also reminded them their verdict must be based on the evidence they heard in court and not from other sources.

“You should not be swayed by public opinion,” Vincent said.

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press

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