Verdict to be handed down tomorrow in Guilbault case

  • Nov. 19, 2014 4:10 p.m.

Justice Monica Bast is expected to give her verdict tomorrow in Red Deer in the case of a son charged with the murder of his father.

Aaron Guilbault, 33, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his father Timothy Guilbault, 58. He pleaded not guilty by reason of not being criminally responsible.

Timothy, a former Red Deer City councillor from 1986 to 1995 and a Calgary businessman was found dead by his daughter Caroline Guilbault at his cottage in Red Lodge Estates near Innisfail on Nov. 5th, 2012. Aaron was arrested a short time after his father’s body was found while he was on his way to Stettler to visit his mother.

As well, Aaron was already on the police radar because just days prior to Timothy’s body being found, Aaron was in contact with a former classmate of his that he was ordered to have no contact with.

Last week, two experts testified as part of defense lawyer Patricia MacNaughton’s case to prove that Aaron was not criminally responsible at the time that he murdered his father.

Dr. Sergio Santana, a forensic psychiatrist in Calgary, treated Aaron after his arrest from February 2013 to last April and a couple more times since then while Aaron has been in custody. During an assessment in early 2013, Santana determined Aaron was fit to stand trial. He also concluded in a report later that same year that Aaron was not criminally responsible for the murder of his father.

Santana testified that Aaron expressed delusional ideations regarding a classmate he had met at Red Deer College.

“He said he was designated by God to be her partner.”

In talking with Aaron’s mother and sister, Santana said he believes Aaron began displaying symptoms of psychosis in 2009. His history of mental illness included being admitted to the Red Deer Regional Hospital in December 2011 after he slit his wrists. He was also admitted to Ponoka hospital in 2012 as well.

“He was obsessed with God, he became increasingly religious and he talked about love all of the time. He also had some form of hearing voices,” he said.

Santana testified that Aaron was reluctant to be treated at first, but in the winter of 2013 he began to respond and he started taking medications voluntarily and recognized that he had a mental disorder.

“When he first came to us he was confident, arrogant and thought that God gave him a special role to save humanity. He started fasting and stopped speaking and would only communicate by writing. He had to be secluded twice – once saying his roommates were perverts and a second time because he was whistling in the middle of the night and he was keeping his roommates up. He said that God was ordering him to whistle,” said Santana. “He started to respond to treatment and most of his bizarre behaviour disappeared with medication. His hallucinations started to decrease. He did however remain grandiose.”

Santana added that Aaron began to believe his father was an evil being shortly before Tim’s death.

“I believe (Aaron began thinking that his father was evil) because his father discouraged him to contact his classmate – the person that Aaron thought God had chosen for him,” he said. “Aaron began to believe that Tim would rape all the women he loved including his classmate.

“Aaron said when Tim came to the house (before his death) he gave him a hockey stick and began putting questions to him about faith. Aaron didn’t think Tim had answers and Tim looked like something that wasn’t human – like an evil spirit. Aaron thought Tim said he was looking for Aaron’s classmate but that Tim couldn’t find her and that sealed Tim’s fate.

“Aaron believed he did the right thing (in murdering his father) and afterwards he had revelations that said he did the right thing. He appreciated killing his father but he did not know it was wrong. In his psychotic mind he thought he was saving the world and the people that he loved.”

Meanwhile, last Thursday, closing arguments were heard from both MacNaughton and crown prosecutor Maurice Collard.

MacNaughton said there has been evidence presented that Aaron was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the murder, therefore exempting him from being criminally responsible.

“He was diagnosed with schizophrenia which made him incapable of knowing the act (of murdering his father) was wrong,” she said. “It was found that there was a mental disorder existent at the time of the offense and he had an inability to think rationally. He felt compelled to commit an act in the war he was waging – so Mr. Timothy Guilbault didn’t cause anymore suffering. He thought he saved the world from the pain Timothy could cause.

“The proof has been made abundantly clear. Aaron Guilbault was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the offense and should be found not criminally responsible.”

Collard said the suggestion that Aaron may not have been aware of what he was doing should be questioned by the court.

“We cannot dispute that his unusual behaviour increased leading up to the offense. The question is not if he is mentally unwell – the question is did he appreciate the nature and consequences of his actions and did he know what he did was wrong?” he said. “A person may be mentally ill but that doesn’t mean that they are not criminally responsible. A person may be psychotic but they may know that their actions are wrong.”

He added he thinks Aaron did know that murdering his father was wrong.

“There are a number of themes that point to Aaron Guilbault knowing what he was doing. He behaves normally after the offense and drives from the scene to Stettler (to visit his mother). He responds and obeys police officers and doesn’t interrupt when they are talking – he comprehends how a conversation flows,” said Collard. “He understands the right to remain silent and exercises that. He participates in a bail hearing and understands what is going on. He was aware that a call to a former classmate was wrong but he did not know that killing his father was wrong? The court should be concerned about that.”

Collard also pointed to a letter to Ponoka hospital where Aaron was admitted earlier in 2012 where his sister Caroline expressed concern over his release.

Collard said in the letter Caroline detailed that Aaron is highly intelligent and is in the gifted range. She said he will be manipulative to get what he wants and tells people what they want to hear to make it easier on himself.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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