November 20, 2014 - 5:49 PM
KELOWNA – The last memory Conor Grossmith says he has of his mother is her watching television in the living room of their house in the Lower Mission.
He doesn't remember her going upstairs to bed around 9 p.m., he doesn't remember going to the garage and taking a hammer out of a toolbox and he doesn't remember using that hammer to hit her in the head so many times she would die from her injuries days later.
Grossmith, 26, has been in Kelowna Supreme Court every day this week as lawyers try to sort out whether he is guilty of second degree murder or not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.
Two psychiatrists have already testified Grossmith, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2009, was in a state of manic psychosis and likely did not understand what he was doing was morally wrong.
Footage of a police interview with Grossmith taken the day after the attack was shown to Justice Alison Beames in Kelowna Supreme Court Thursday. It shows Grossmith expressing sadness over the death of his mother for the first time.
Sitting alone in a Kelowna RCMP interrogation room, the video shows Grossmith sobbing as an officer tries to coax him into telling him why he would kill a woman who, by all accounts, he loved.
“I've got major concerns with how you're dealing with this,” the officer says to Grossmith. “I don't know if you remember the incident or you know how violent it was. There are things you told the officers (during the arrest) that lead me to believe that you do have a pretty good recollection."
"I don't remember," Grossmith whispers. "I'm trying to remember anything but I can't."
The investigator then plays a recorded message from his father Harry Grossmith, who has attended court every day since trial started Monday.
"Hi Conor, it's dad. This has been a very blurry and topsy-turvy time for all of us," he says. "I want you to know your mom is in stable condition.... I don't know what occurred... I don't know who that was, it wasn't the son I know who respected others. It wasn't the son I know who cares deeply and walks quietly."
Conor sobs loudly and the investigator comforts him by telling him his father and sister still love him.
"Even though this incident has taken place and you're responsible, they do love you and they still care for you," he says. "Youre the only person that can help us fill in the blanks. I need to see... you're not a monster."
The investigator then plays a recording made by Grossmith's sister, who lives in the Lower Mainland and who also struggled with addiction in the past.
"I just want you to know that I love you very much," she says. "It probably feels very dark, I know... It's hard to admit that we're lost and that we need help. It takes strength and courage to say I need help. I believe in you and I know you can do that because you're a strong person. I miss you."
"I'm glad to see this. This makes sense," the investigator says. "There is an opportunity here for us to try and talk about what happened; what led you down that road; what changed you from the nice loving, caring son they know you are to the person that attacked your mom and put her in the hospital. Your family is looking for answers. They want to know what's going on in your head."
"I'm sorry I just don't know what to say," Grossmith says softly. "I have all sorts of bad ideas of what I might have done."
The trial is expected to conclude Friday. If found not criminally responsible Grossmith could spend the rest of his life in a psychiatric hospital.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
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