Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ex-Doctor Who Killed His Kids, Then Walked Free, Faces Renewed Murder Charges

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ex-Doctor Who Killed His Kids, Then Walked Free, Faces Renewed Murder Charges

Article excerpt

Guy Turcotte back in court on murder charges

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SAINT-JEROME, Que. - A former Quebec doctor who eventually walked free after admitting to killing his kids returned to court Thursday to face renewed first-degree murder charges in their slayings.

Guy Turcotte, his hands cuffed and head bowed, shuffled into a courtroom one day after the Quebec Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in the 2009 stabbing deaths of his kids, Anne-Sophie, 3, and Olivier, 5.

The ex-cardiologist's appearance came more than two years after a jury found him not criminally responsible in their deaths, a controversial verdict that made him a well-known figure in the province and enraged many Quebecers.

His case was one of several notorious court decisions that helped lead to new federal legislation designed to make it more difficult for those found not criminally responsible to gain their freedom.

During his high-profile first-degree-murder trial in 2011, Turcotte admitted to stabbing his daughter and son a total of 46 times one night, amid a messy breakup with their mother.

He then drank windshield-wiper fluid in what he said was a failed attempt to commit suicide.

A jury found him not criminally responsible when they accepted his argument he could not remember the events and had experienced blackouts.

Turcotte was later deemed fit for release from a mental institution, where he had been locked up after a total of 46 months in psychiatric care.

But on Wednesday he surrendered to police after the appeals court overturned the 2011 decision, because of perceived legal errors, and authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.

He was back in a prisoner's box Thursday for a brief appearance at the courthouse in Saint-Jerome, Que., north of Montreal.

Turcotte did not utter a word in the chamber and is scheduled to return to court Jan. 10, when a date will be set for a new trial. There will be no preliminary hearing.

"Until then, he will be detained," prosecutor Rene Verret said outside the courtroom.

"When a person is charged with murder he has to be detained, unless the defence presents a request before a Superior Court judge...

"We have not received such a request, but if we receive a request like this then we will have to debate (it) in front of a judge. …

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