Jim Lutz: Man who shot his mother in an alcoholic-induced psychosis faces sentencing

The city man who shot and killed his mother while experiencing an alcohol-induced psychosis should be sentenced to up to 15 years in a penitentiary, the Crown suggested Friday.

Susan Kennedy argued Andrew Douglas Murray’s ongoing alcohol addiction makes him a dangerous individual.

The prosecutor told Justice Beth Hughes the father and sister of Murray fear he will return to boozing once he’s back on the street.

“Both have tremendous concerns about his re-engagement with alcohol,” Kennedy said, in arguing a suitable penalty for Murray, 31.

Murray pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter in the Oct. 14, 2013, death of his mother, Lois, 58, whom he shot once in the back of the neck inside her Ranchlands home.

Murray retrieved a shotgun from a secured locker in the basement of the home, loaded it, and then went upstairs to where his mother was.

“He startled his mother with the cocking of the firearm and she expressed alarm and fear,” Kennedy noted.

“He chased her around her home,” the prosecutor noted.

After Lois Murray fell and as she struggled to get up “he shot her at close range in the back of the neck.”

Following his arrest, Murray told police he had been hearing voices telling him his mother was going to kill him.

Kennedy noted Murray was diagnosed as suffering from an alcohol-induced psychosis, either from consumption or withdrawal.

She said Murray was aware he was susceptible to such a disturbance of the mind, since he had a history of hospitalization for psychosis, but drank anyway.

“Knowing this he continued to consume,” Kennedy said in seeking a sentence in the 12- to 15-year range.

And she said Murray would have known the tragic consequences of shooting his mother in the neck.

“This was an injury that was not survivable — she didn’t stand a chance,” Kennedy said.

“This is definitely manslaughter near murder.”

She also noted the impact the crime has had on his sister and father.

“The impact on the Murray family … has been utterly profound and devastating.”

But defence lawyer Jim Lutz said a lesser sentence was warranted.

Lutz noted his client has already served the equivalent of four years since his arrest on the day of his mother’s slaying.

He said in his psychotic state Murray killed probably the most important person in his life.

“The loss of his mother and the estrangement from his family will be with him long after he’s served his sentence,” Lutz said, in suggesting an additional two years plus probation would be sufficient punishment.

The case is back in court June 28.

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