It was a little after noon on Sunday at the courthouse in St. Jerome. In the crowded courtroom, the tension was at its peak. Sitting in the dock, Guy Turcotte was rocking gently from right to left. Jurors came one after another, looking serious. And then everything happened very quickly.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, who will speak on your behalf?” Asked the clerk solemnly.
Juror number eleven rose.
“On the first count, what is your verdict?” Continued the clerk, referring to the murder of little Oliver.
“Guilty of murder in the second degree,” said the juror.
The second question, which sought this time the murder of little Anne-Sophie, ended the same way.
The fate of Guy Turcotte had been sealed, the seventh day of deliberations.
The man of 43 years had no reaction. He who was a cardiologist at the material seemed resigned, as if he expected. Sitting in the front row, Isabelle Gaston, his ex-wife, the mother of the victims and doctor too, began to cry. Relief.
Pain and satisfaction
“I was relieved, I was in shock. I wanted to get up and say thank you, “said Ms. Gaston, a little later, addressing the media. Despite his great satisfaction at the verdict, Ms. Gaston was obviously overwhelmed by grief evoking her children.
“Surprisingly, today we can not talk of victory, we must not forget that a little boy and a little girl died. Getting justice is super important for a mother who has lost her children, but [also] for us all. I consider it an injustice that was committed against two children, but it’s a bit of an injustice that was committed against all. When you come to accept such a serious crime that Anne-Sophie and Olivier lived, it’s a bit like having a disgrace or are tolerated [break] the social pact to solve our problems without violence . For me, Olivier and Anne-Sophie, I hope they will be able to rest their soul, their image in any case, because they are clearly the symbol that we, in Quebec, the violence done to children, we will not tolerate not that. This is the day when I can start to rest. I felt that my life was a fight, really a fight. ”
Just before the prosecutor René Verret Crown had taken the floor to express the satisfaction of the prosecution against the verdict and send thanks. He was accompanied by his colleague Maria Albanese.
“The four women and seven men had an extremely important role to play in the process. The verdicts were rendered after conducting a rigorous, demanding and methodical, “he has said.
Mr. Verret thanked staff and stressed the “remarkable work” of the three doctors who testified for the prosecution or the psychiatrist France Proulx, psychiatrist Pierre Bleau and physician toxicologist Martin Laliberté.
True to form, the defense counsel, Peter and Guy Poupart, did not comment. There is always the possibility of appeal, but whether Mr. Turcotte will want to take a chance. The intention to appeal shall be revealed within 30 days of the verdict.
The unpremeditated murder automatically entail life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 10-25 years in prison before being eligible for parole. It is the judge who decides the period of ineligibility, but the jury may make a recommendation, if desired. Upon reflection, Sunday, jurors declined to make a recommendation. The Judge André Vincent therefore decide alone. He will hear the arguments of the parties on this matter on December 18. Mr. Turcotte has already served more than two years in custody, since he was held before his first trial, either February 21, 2009 to 5 July 2011. This should be credited with double.
Mr. Turcotte, who was free during his second trial, did not come out of the courtroom after the verdict, since he was detained on the spot. He left the courthouse thirty minutes later on a small bus corrections. Normally, it should be assessed at the reception center of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, before being sent to a penitentiary to serve his sentence.
A drama, two trials
Recall that the tragedy occurred February 20, 2009, in a context of separation between Guy and Isabelle Turcotte Gaston. Mr. Turcotte, who exercised the profession cardiologist at the Hotel-Dieu de Saint-Jérôme, children stabbed repeatedly in the house he was renting Piedmont for three weeks. He had drunk washer to commit suicide. The tragedy was discovered the next day when his parents worried, presented themselves at home. Everything was locked and no one came to answer. They called 9-1-1.
Around 11:30 am, the police forcibly entered the house and discovered the lifeless body of Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3, in their respective chamber. Mr. Turcotte was found under his bed stained with vomit and blood of its children. He was treated for methanol poisoning, and has not retained any physical sequelae.
Mr. Turcotte presented a defense of not responsible on account of mental disorder at both trials. All psychiatrists concluded he was suffering from an adjustment disorder, but do not agree on the consequences of this disorder. In both cases, the jury had to choose between the same verdicts: not guilty by reason of mental disorder, guilty of premeditated murder, not guilty of premeditated murder or guilty of manslaughter. On the sixth day of deliberations, July 5, 2011, the jury in the first trial had concluded that Mr. Turcotte was not criminally responsible.
The outcome of this first trial had raised the ire of the population. Many people do not accept that Mr. Turcotte, who admitted killing his children, or found not responsible. After the verdict, Mr. Turcotte had been transferred from prison to the Philippe Pinel Institute, where he remained until December 2012. He was then released, but had to submit to certain conditions, it always met.
In November 2013, the Court of Appeal ordered a new trial after finding an error of law in the instructions to the jury.