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

Column: Grade school students don’t have a voice during COVID pandemic

As adults weigh pros and cons of returning kids to school, is anyone asking kids what they think?

Harrison Festival Society: Jill Barber up next in Still Running Concert series

Three-time JUNO nominee is set to perform in Agassiz on August 15

Seabird Island COVID-19 ‘scare’ has passed, Chief states

Reaffirmation comes during Chief Harris’s weekly video address

SLIDESHOW: Chilliwack firefighters battle large blaze at Rosedale chicken barn Friday

Majority of birds saved but buildings on Castleman Road destroyed by fire

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Fraser Valley Bandits fall to Edmonton in CEBL final

Bandits lose 90-73 to Stingers in Sunday’s Summer Series final

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Most Read