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The growing makeshift memorial at the Western Forst Products Mill in Nanaimo, B.C. May 1, 2014 the site of a shooting that left two people dead and another two in hospital. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
The growing makeshift memorial at the Western Forst Products Mill in Nanaimo, B.C. May 1, 2014 the site of a shooting that left two people dead and another two in hospital. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Jury begins deliberations in Vancouver Island mill shooting trial Add to ...

A jury must decide whether a man who admitted in court to killing two of his former co-workers at a Vancouver Island mill did so in a planned and deliberate way, or if their deaths were the result of “unfocused and unthinking” behaviour caused by severe depression, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge says.

Justice Robin Baird told jurors Tuesday that the premeditation behind a shooting at a Western Forest Products mill in Nanaimo will make a difference in whether Kevin Addison should be found guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter.

The 50-year-old man faces two counts each of first-degree murder and attempted murder after he allegedly used a sawed-off shotgun to shoot four employees at a Nanaimo mill on April 30, 2014.

The jury began deliberating Tuesday afternoon after Baird reviewed the arguments made over the course of the three-week trial.

“This is a grave and solemn occasion,” Baird told the jury. “You decide the facts of the case. I’m just doing my best to interpret what the Crown and defence said to you.”

The Crown argued Addison was motivated by revenge to carry out the attack against Western Forest Products after he was laid off in 2008 and failed to be rehired two years later, Baird summarized.

He said the Crown contended Addison’s decision to modify a 12-gauge shotgun and conceal the weapon in his right pant leg by cutting a hole in his jeans pocket is evidence of his planning and deliberation.

“He even filed down the barrel remaining on the shotgun so that it wouldn’t scratch his leg as he walked down to the mill,” Baird said.

As for the case made by defence, Baird said Addison had no history of violence and the only explanation for his uncharacteristic behaviour was the severe depression diagnosed by his family physician three months earlier.

His lawyer said it wasn’t a cold, calculated murder, but a man suffering from depression, his thought processes were disorganized and irrational- it was out of character, the judge said.

Defence argued Addison never meant to kill anyone and he should instead be found guilty of manslaughter, Baird said.

Mill employees Michael Lunn and Fred McEachern died from injuries sustained during the April 2014 shooting. Earl Kelly and Tony Sudar were also shot but recovered.

Addison testified earlier in court to shooting and killing Lunn and McEachern, which Baird said meant jurors had only three options for verdicts on the two murder charges: first-degree, second-degree or manslaughter.

On the two counts of attempted murder, Addison told the court he accidentally shot two men while struggling with another mill employee who was attempting to subdue him, Baird said.

The Nanaimo courtroom was packed with more than 50 people, many of them friends and family of Lunn and McEachern.

Addison sat motionless in the prisoner’s box throughout the proceedings, moving only to take an occasional sip of water.

Speaking outside of court after the jury began its deliberations, Lunn’s wife of 44 years Marlene said the trial has been very emotional but that she’s happy the decision is now with the jury.

“It’s hard on all of us. But we’re a strong family. We’ll get through this,” she said. ”We’re hoping that (Addison) goes away for a long time."

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