Accused Metropolis shooter faces 16 charges
Published Thursday, September 6, 2012 12:44PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 11, 2012 11:15AM EDT
MONTREAL -- The man accused of a deadly shooting during Pauline Marois's victory speech is facing 16 charges, including first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, several gun and explosives charges and arson.
Richard Henry Bain made a brief court appearance at the Montreal courthouse about 11:40 a.m. Thursday under a heavy Surete du Quebec escort.
Bain was represented by legal aid lawyer Elfriede Duclervil, but asked to be represented by well-known constitutional lawyer Julius Grey. That request was denied. Duclervil not request a psychiatric evaluation for her client.
Bain wore a white t-shirt and appeared calm and lucid as he entered the witness box, looking at family members of the man he is accused of killing -- one of whom held up a family photo.
He decided to waive the reading of charges, was not required to enter a plea, and agreed to his next court date: Oct. 11, 2012.
None of the charges relates to premier-designate Pauline Marois, who was giving her election victory speech on Tuesday night when the shooting occurred. However, prosecuting attorneys said additional charges could be added
Bain, who turns 62 this week, was originally supposed to appear from his hospital bed, where he was admitted on Wednesday morning due to breathing difficulties, however he was discharged Thursday morning and taken to SQ headquarters before being driven to Montreal's courthouse.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday he received a notice that his application to expand his camp for ice-fishing was being delayed by municipal officials pending an environmental assessment.
Drama unfolded at Metropolis
On Tuesday evening, a masked man wearing a blue housecoat drove up to the Metropolis theatre, where the Parti Quebecois was holding an election victory party.
Police say that during Marois's speech the gunman approached an open exterior door near the stage and shot two people with an assault rifle before the weapon jammed.
The man then threw a Molotov cocktail, starting a fire inside the building.
The weapon used in the shooting was a legally registered long gun and was part of a broader arsenal of arms that were nearly all registered, authorities have confirmed.
Plainclothes officers arrested the suspect at the scene
Denis Blanchette, 48, was killed at the scene. Another audio technician, Dave Courage, was injured but his life was never in danger.
A work colleague said Blanchette, working for $15 an hour and had replaced her earlier in the day because she wanted to vote and pick up her daughter at school.
As the suspect was being whisked to the police vehicle, Bain shouted, "The English are waking up."
Linguistic tensions inflate
There has been some finger-pointing since the tragedy. Some opponents of the PQ have blamed it for stoking linguistic anger. Some of its supporters, conversely, have blamed Anglophone media for stirring up anti-PQ hatred. Some have used the case as an argument for stricter gun control.
The Societe-Saint-Jean-Baptiste, a hard-line Francophone rights group, has blamed the Anglophone media, singling out several Canadian newspapers, including The Gazette, The Suburban, The National Post and The Globe and Mail for building a culture of fear against the PQ.
The organization said it has seen articles, editorials and cartoons that have described sovereigntists and Marois in particular as racist and unwilling to accept Anglophone Quebecers.
Whle it agrees that Tuesday's attack was the work of one person, it also blames the Anglophone media for creating a socio-political powder keg.
Mario Beaulieu from the Societe-Saint-Jean-Baptiste said accusations of racism go too far.
"We are not xenophobic. It's the opposite. We want to accept new immigrants into our society. But all of these accusations, references to Nazis, etc. -- If I didn't know any better, even I would be scared after reading the papers," he said. "It has created a culture of fear and heightened tensions."
It also said the English media has spread lies about what the future may hold for English-speaking Quebecers under a PQ government, and is asking the media to tone anti-PQ dialogue down.
The Gazette Editor Raymond Brassard responded to the SSJB in La Presse Thursday, telling the French-language newspaper that the accusations from the Societe-Saint-Jean-Baptiste don't surprise him, but they go too far. Brassard said that for 40 years The Gazette has maintained respect for sovereignists, even if it does not share their point of view on independence.
However, the overwhelming reaction -- from politicians, public personalities and a friend of Blanchette's who spoke at a vigil in Montreal on Wednesday night -- has been a call for unity and for avoiding the temptation to draw political lessons from the tragedy.
With a report from The Canadian Press