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The atmosphere was sullen and the energy was dismal during court proceedings Monday morning as Crown Councillor, Frank Dubenski, read aloud the tragic and traumatic events that unfolded on the night of September 13th, 2012.
At approximately 9 p.m. that evening it is alleged that Conor Grossmith attacked his 57-year-old mother, Kathleen Gilchirst, with a hammer in their family home as she slept. The victim died in Kelowna General Hospital nine days later, as a result of severe head trauma. Grossmith was 24 years of age at the time.
Grossmith was charged with second degree murder and this Monday morning marked the first day of what is expected to be a five day trial held at the Supreme court level. The two-and-a-half year delay is due in part from several psychiatric evaluations Grossmith underwent, as it has been confirmed that he did in fact suffer from bipolar disorder prior to the event.
The now 26-year-old entered a not guilty plea to second degree murder, blaming his actions on a mental disorder. While Grossmith has admitted he killed his mother, it will be up to B.C. Supreme Court Justice Alison Beames to decide whether or not Grossmith fully understood his actions and should spend time in jail or in a psychiatric hospital.
Dubenski read aloud for the court, the events that allegedly occurred on the night of September 13th, 2012. Grossmith and his family went about their daily routine as if everything was normal. Conor, his father Harry Grossmith, and his mother sat down for dinner, which was accompanied with wine.
Photo Credit: KelownaNow
Harry was in the kitchen when he heard “two kicking sounds.” After investigating the sounds, he found his son leaving his wife's bedroom with a bloody hammer.
At that point, Harry said he did not recognize his son who had a “demonic” look on his face.
After locking himself in the master bedroom, the father called 911. During this time, he could hear his son outside the door trying to get in the bedroom, and during another instance he could hear what he assumed was his son attacking Kathleen again.
“My son has hammered my wife, my son is psychotic,” yelled Harry during his 911 call with the dispatcher. “He's out of his mind, he is very dangerous.”
At one point during the 911 call, Conor appeared to be enraged and continued to swear at his dad through the door. It is also alleged that Conor took a second blunt, wooden instrument and hit his mother up to five times during the incident.
Harry was heard saying during the call, “Don't Conor, I'm your dad, I can help you."
The police arrived at the scene by 9:12 p.m. and apprehended Conor, who was found in the backyard with blood on his hands. According to the Crown Council, Conor did not resist arrest, but he was said to have been completely intoxicated and “out of it.” The police said Conor was wide-eyed and void of emotion.
Kathleen was found with a grisly head wound, said Crown. Brain matter, skeletal fragments, and blood was splattered on the head board, walls, and floors of her bedroom.
During the trial proceedings this morning, Conor arrived in the prisoner's box in civilian clothing. As the 911 call played, he seemed to be drained of visible emotion, as he continued to stare at the floor or straight ahead with his eyes closed.
The trial will proceed on Tuesday, November 18th.