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Psychiatrist says Quebec man who killed his children should not be freed

The mother of two dead stabbing victims tried in vain to have her voice heard Friday by an administrative tribunal that will decide whether the children's killer walks free.

Isabelle Gaston wanted a mental-health tribunal to understand the impact of the actions of her husband, a Quebec doctor who fatally stabbed their two children.

But the Quebec mental-health tribunal interrupted her as she sobbed through a lengthy letter she'd written. They didn't let her finish.

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Also, Ms. Gaston was not allowed to show a short video about the impact of the stabbing deaths of her son and daughter, Olivier and Anne-Sophie.

Board members told the grieving mother the purpose of the hearing was not to put Guy Turcotte back on trial; a jury has already found him not criminally responsible for his actions.

The current hearings are merely to determine whether Mr. Turcotte should walk free.

Quebecers have expressed outrage over the jury verdict. Mr. Turcotte had admitted to stabbing his children 46 times — but he argued that he was under severe emotional distress because his marriage was breaking up.

Ms. Gaston told the mental-health board Friday that she now fears for her life if Mr. Turcotte is released.

Earlier Friday, a psychiatrist and a psychologist both told the board that Mr. Turcotte should be detained for at least one more year.

Psychiatrist Pierre Rochette said specialists still don't understand why Mr. Turcotte killed five-year-old Olivier and three-year-old Anne-Sophie in 2009.

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Until they do, he should remain institutionalized, Mr. Rochette said.

"All that psychotherapy work still needs to be done," the psychiatrist testified Friday. "I'm not sure he'll be able to find help outside (the hospital)."

Mr. Turcotte has refused psychotherapy treatment since his trial this past summer.

Mr. Rochette said Mr. Turcotte wants to leave Quebec — where he is an infamous household name — and start practising cardiology again. He also hopes to find love and maybe even have more kids.

The psychiatrist testified that he met with Ms. Gaston, Mr. Turcotte's ex-wife and the mother of the slain children. She expressed to him concern for her safety, her current partner's and that of any children they may eventually have.

Mr. Turcotte's previously scheduled hearing was abruptly cancelled last August after a mysterious letter written by his own sister came to light.

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She claimed in media interviews he had previously made threats.

The five-member panel will eventually decide whether Mr. Turcotte should be freed, released with conditions, or remain detained in a psychiatric institution with a yearly review of his file.

There was widespread outrage in Quebec when the jury verdict came down last July, with citizens holding peaceful protests in front of courthouses.

The emotional trial included testimony from experts who disagreed over whether Mr. Turcotte was in control of his actions.

The Crown has announced it intends to appeal the verdict.

Mr. Turcotte testified at the trial he could only remember flashes of the evening of the deaths and that he was devastated by the end of his marriage.

The panel hearing the mental health review is expected to issue a written ruling at a later date.

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