Man found not criminally responsible in fatal Salmon Arm church shooting

Matrix Gathergood confined to hospital for decision by Forensic Psychiatric Commission

A judge has determined a Shuswap man who shot and killed a Salmon Arm churchgoer in April 2019, and wounded another, was not criminally responsible for his actions due to a mental disorder.

Justice Sheri Ann Donegan, who presided over the case of Matrix Gathergood as part of Supreme Court proceedings at the Salmon Arm courthouse, delivered her ruling on Wednesday, July 22.

Gathergood, 25, was facing charges of murder in the death of church leader Gordon Parmenter and aggravated assault for the wounding of Paul Derkach after the April 14, 2019 shooting at the Salmon Arm Church of Christ.

Gathergood pleaded not guilty and his lawyer, Johnathan Avis, put forward the defence of not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

During court proceedings on July 21, Crown counsel Alison Buchanan did not challenge the defence. She stated 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.

Gathergood, long haired and bearded and wearing a black sweatshirt and toque, appeared by video conference from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam. He was silent and wore a blank expression as Donegan delivered her decision and the reasons for it.

Read more: Judge to decide if accused in Salmon Arm church shooting not guilty due to mental disorder

Read more:Crown seeks psychiatric assessment for accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Testifying by phone on July 21, Kolchak said he diagnosed Gathergood with schizophrenia and that he believes he qualifies for the not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder defence. Kolchak said Gathergood believed there was a new-world-order governing body that 78-year-old Parmenter was involved with. According to Kolchak’s testimony, Gathergood also believed he was under threat from Parmenter.

Testimony on July 21 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 heard that Gathergood thought Parmenter blamed him for the Parmenters’ move from their home in Silver Creek.

Kolchak was the only witness called on July 21 as the Crown and defence had already agreed on a statement of facts about the events surrounding the shooting.

Donnegan ordered Gathergood be confined to hospital while the case is 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.

With files by Martha Wickett.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

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

Just Posted

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Saanich police search for potential victims, witnesses after series of unprovoked assaults

Police are looking for more information about two incidents from June 12

Multiple Victoria officers injured during violent incidents, including mental health calls over long weekend

Police deploy pepper spray, conducted energy weapon while arresting suspect

Crews respond to medical incident on West Saanich Road

Incident appears to be cleared, witnesses say

Newly appointed Resilient Saanich committee to weigh in on new environmental policy framework

Council selects nine members, First Nations representative position remains open

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Most Read