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

Lavender hand sanitizer sale raises cash for Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Golf course and lavender farm partner up to support health care in the Fraser Valley

Donations of fresh produce sought from Chilliwack backyard gardeners

Hamper program from Chilliwack Citizens for Change to serve those with special dietary needs

Historic threshermen’s site set to re-open this weekend in Chilliwack

‘It’s a huge test run for us to see how it all works,’ says Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association president

Spadina Avenue is being reconstructed from Corbould to Ashwell

Fewer parking stalls in the street but the Curling Club parking expansion will compensate

UPDATE: Former Chilliwack city councillor’s breach of trust case resolved using ‘alternative measures’

Charges dropped against Sam Waddington who faced two counts from 2017 related to allegations

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

BCSPCA partners with Crime Stoppers

Many call in to the SPCA, but want to remain anonymous: Eccles

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read