The Parmenter family stands outside the Salmon Arm Law Courts on Tuesday, July 22, 2020, while attending the murder trial of Matrix Gathergood who is facing a murder charge for the killing of Gordon Parmenter. From left, Gordon’s grandson Jonathan, his spouse Peggy, his sons David and Tony, Tony’s spouse and Gord’s daughter-in-law Melissa, and Gord’s grandson Lucas. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Judge to decide if accused Salmon Arm church shooter not guilty due to mental disorder

Court heard that man charged believed his life was in danger when he shot church elder

Matrix Gathergood believed he was saving himself from being killed when he shot Gordon Parmenter, according to testimony July 22 from a forensic psychiatrist in BC Supreme Court in Salmon Arm.

Gathergood is facing a charge of murder in the shooting death of church leader Gordon Parmenter and aggravated assault in the wounding of churchgoer Paul Derkach. The shooting took place April 14, 2019 in the Salmon Arm Church of Christ.

Gathergood, 25, pleaded not guilty, with his lawyer Jonathan Avis putting forward the defence of not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

Crown counsel Alison Buchanan did not challenge the defence, stating the psychiatric report from Dr. Andrew Kolchak supported the contention that Gathergood suffered from symptoms of psychosis, which made it difficult for him to rationally evaluate what he was doing and come to alternative solutions.

Kochak testified that he diagnosed Gathergood as having schizophrenia, and said he believes he qualifies for the defence of not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder, which was active at the time of the offence.

Read more: Trial of man accused in church shooting begins July 21 in Salmon Arm

Read more: Man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting to stand trial by judge alone

He testified that Gathergood believed there was a new world order governing body, and he thought Parmenter was involved in it. Gathergood thought he was under threat from the victim.

Testimony in court also touched on the relationship between the two men, that Parmenter had been something of a father figure to Gathergood over the years.

The court also heard that Gathergood thought Parmenter blamed him for the Parmenters’ move from their home in Silver Creek.

Because Crown and defence had agreed on a statement of facts, no witnesses were called to testify about the events of that day; the psychiatrist was the lone witness. He testified and was questioned via telephone, while Gathergood appeared via video link from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam. Wearing a toque, he sat quietly throughout the proceedings.

If the judge agrees there has been enough evidence provided for a defence of not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder, it’s expected the case would be forwarded to the Forensic Psychiatric Commission for a disposition hearing. Options expected would include detaining the person in a psychiatric facility, discharging them with conditions and having them return for further assessments, or giving them an absolute discharge. The seriousness of the crime would generally affect the options.

Six members of the Parmenter family sat listening to the proceedings in Courtroom 202, where seating was limited because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Madam Justice Sheri Ann Donegan will read her decision at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 23.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC Supreme CourtSalmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

Phase three presents new opportunities for Kootenay tourism

Message from MLA Michelle Mungall and MLA Katrine Conroy

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

FortisBC sees record-high summer electricity usage in Okanagan and Kootenays

‘As temperatures spike, so does the demand for electricity’ - FortisBC

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Most Read