Sunday, April 01, 2007

Maine border crossing maniac slows trial process

The trial over a terrible slaying in New Brunswick has been pushed back for further psychiatric assessment of the accused killer, Gregory Despres. Shown here is a version of the photo that the AP released early in the story. You can see a more recent photo of him, leaving the courtroom in January 2007, here on the CTV website. Despres entered the U.S. after the alleged double murder by crossing at the Calais, Maine, border point, an event which has become the center of much controversy in this age of Homeland Security.
Relatives at N.B. decapitation trial furious at latest delay
March 30, 2007
Despres has been on trial since early January for the brutal slaying of 74-year-old Fred Fulton and his 70-year-old wife, Verna Decarie, who were found dead in their Minto, N.B., home on April 25, 2005. Both victims had been repeatedly stabbed and Fulton had been decapitated. His severed head was found in a pillowcase under the kitchen table.
To make matters worse for the relatives, the next court appearance for Despres is scheduled for April 24, when a full psychiatric report on Despres will be addressed. It's believed Fulton and Decarie were killed on April 24, 2005 - a painful anniversary for the family.
Despres' first-degree murder trial was stopped on Feb. 1 after he delivered a 10-minute courtroom rant about al-Qaida, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and something he called the "Super Space Patrol."
In another outburst on the day the trial was stopped, Despres objected to the length of the assessment, saying any evaluation that took longer than five days would be an attempt to gather espionage, and that he could be forced to testify under the rules of the "Super Space Patrol."
Despres, who has dual Canadian and U.S. citizenship, was allowed to enter the United States on April 25, 2005, despite bizarre behaviour at the border crossing in Calais, Maine.

He described himself as a marine sniper and an assassin with 700 kills to his credit, and was carrying a homemade sword, a knife, a chainsaw, pepper spray, a hatchet and brass knuckles, all of which were confiscated by U.S. border guards.
Several guards testified that they could not detain Despres because he had a valid U.S. passport.
[click here for full article: Source]
By all accounts, the entire event is one of those that seems like something out of an over-the-top horror movie which would challenge normal standards of suspension of disbelief. Despres was on foot when he crossed the border, and walked into northern Maine. He was on foot on a road in Massachusetts (where he lived at one point in the past) when police picked him up the day of his arrest.

The Calais, Maine, border guards didn't know what to do with him, beyond confiscating all his weaponry, and taking his photograph. The items removed from his possession included one item not mentioned in the above article, "a chainsaw that had red stains on it." [Source] As one of the victims' nephews stated, "It’s nice of them to come here and testify. From what they are saying, it was obviously a very odd experience for all of them.” [Source]

Pointing out that bizarre behavior in and of itself is not something that allows border officials from forbidding entry into the U.S. to its citizens, it was also noted by Jayson Ahern, assistant commissioner for field operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, that "inspectors held him for two hours while they checked various databases and watch lists and took his fingerprints. Customs inspectors also called in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Calais police, and determined that there were no outstanding warrants for Despres, he said." [Source]

The events leading up to the crime are no less weird. "Despres was first arrested in August 2004 after waving a knife at Fulton's grandson, Fred Mowat. According to an RCMP report, Despres was angry he had no water and blamed it on Fulton, although there was something wrong with the local well and no one in the area had water at the time." [Source]

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