Thursday, December 13, 2012



MONTREAL—He stabbed his children 46 times. He's a free man after 46 months.

A cardiologist who killed his two children in a case that shocked Quebecers has been granted his release from a psychiatric institution, with conditions.

The decision to release Guy Turcotte comes as little surprise. A jury last year had found him not criminally responsible for killing his three-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. Since last year's court verdict, he had been in Montreal's Pinel institute where a panel Wednesday found him mentally fit to be released.

Turcotte's case has provoked a torrent of outrage in Quebec.

His ex-wife said Wednesday that she didn't blame the panel that released him because it had few legal options. What she blames is the broader justice system.

"So we're freeing a criminal," said Isabelle Gaston, the children's mother.

"I continue to hope the justice system changes. If things don't change ... injustices will continue. Like this one ... and the ones you don't hear about."

The cardiologist had admitted to stabbing his young children 46 times.

But he said he didn't remember doing it, hadn't wanted to do it, and had been experiencing blackouts on the night of the killings.

He said he was distraught over the breakup of his marriage. Gaston had left him for a family friend who was her personal trainer.

Turcotte's release was unanimously approved by a three-member panel. He will have to get annual mental-health checkups, continue his therapy, stay out of trouble, get approval for his choice of address, and avoid all contact with his ex-wife.

His legal woes are not quite over yet: the Crown has filed to appeal the 2011 court verdict.

Several cases like Turcotte's, including the 2008 bus-beheading in Manitoba and the Schoenborn child-killings in B.C., have prompted a federal policy change.

The federal government plans to make it more difficult for mentally ill offenders found not criminally responsible to be released from custody.

The Tories plan to introduce a bill in the House of Commons early next year that would make the safety of the public the paramount factor for review boards that determine an offender's release.

1 comment:

Phyllis Carter said...

Would murderers be freed if those who release them had to pay the penalty for their next crime?