Guy Turcotte Murder Trial: Forensic psychiatrist hired to determine mental state testifies

Guy Turcotte Murder Trial: Forensic psychiatrist hired to determine mental state testifies

Main pic: Guy Turcotte leaves the courtroom during a recess in his murder trial at the courthouse in Saint Jerome, Que., September 28, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz.

SAINT-JEROME, Que. — The night he killed his two children, Guy Turcotte was no longer able to deal with the emotional burden of his rapidly changing personal life and was on the verge of committing suicide, a psychiatrist testified Wednesday.

Dominique Bourget began her testimony by offering her assessment of the mental state of Guy Turcotte the night he killed his two children in February 2009.

“It was like one shock after another,” said Bourget, regarding her analysis of Turcotte’s mental state on the day of the slayings.

She told the jury Turcotte’s mental state was like that of an overflowing glass of water and he couldn’t handle the end of his marriage and the infidelity of his wife.

Bourget, a defence witness, is a forensic psychiatrist with a specialty in domestic homicides. Her expert testimony is expected to be central to Turcotte’s claim he was not criminally responsible for the killings.

Turcotte, 43, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3.

He has admitted to causing their deaths but his lawyers are arguing he should be found not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.

She met with Turcotte twice in 2010 while he was detained.

Bourget confirmed that Turcotte was suffering from an adjustment disorder, exhibiting signs of anxiety and depression with obsessive-compulsive traits.

“A major mental illness,” Bourget wrote in her report.

She said Turcotte was in an acute suicidal crisis, calling it “a pervasive state.”

“The person becomes overwhelmed, obsessed with suicidal thoughts, that they lose touch with reality,” Bourget said.

She defined the condition as a disease — not just an emotional reaction to stress.

Turcotte told jurors at his trial last week that on Feb. 20, 2009, he had decided to end his life and began drinking windshield washer fluid — which contains methanol. As he went about his plan, he decided to bring his children with him.

The children were stabbed to death in their beds.

“It’s clear that even on its own, methanol poisoning is likely to affect one’s judgment and alter their consciousness,” she said.

Her testimony continues Thursday.

Also Wednesday, the jury sent a letter to the judge asking whether Turcotte was medicated during his testimony last week.

In their presence, Superior Court Justice Andre Vincent said he wasn’t able to respond to the question as it wasn’t asked of the accused.

However, Turcotte, normally impassive while sitting in the prisoner’s dock, moved his head up-and-down as the judge replied.

The defence said it had between five and eight witnesses left to be heard.

The Crown could also call two witnesses in rebuttal, meaning the trial could be completed in two-to-three weeks, Vincent told the 11-member jury.

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Pres

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