BY BILL PHILLIPS
The second-degree murder conviction of a Granisle man has been overturned. However, he will not be getting out of jail any time soon.
The B.C. appeals court agreed with Robert Arthur Vernon Reeves that the judge in his second trial erred in his instruction to the jury. However, the appeals court ruled that even though Reeves shouldn’t have been convicted of second degree murder in the April 26, 2009 death of Brian Baker in Granisle, he should have been convicted of manslaughter and applied that conviction.
Reeves, 36 years old at the time, lived with his mother, Vivienne Baker, and her husband, Brian Baker, at their home in Granisle. On April 26 he got into an argument with his mother over her cooking rice in a pot with a dirty lid. From the next room, Baker told the Reeves to leave his mother alone, according to the appeals court ruling. Reeves took a knife and stabbed Baker many times. He bled to death, probably within minutes, according to the ruling. Vivienne Baker fled to her neighbour’s house where she phoned the police.
The ranking member of the RCMP in the area, Staff Sgt. Wadelius, phoned the Reeves from Houston, some 80 kilometres away, and talked to him for about 90 minutes, after which Reeves left the home and surrendered to RCMP outside.
Reeves mental state at the time became the cornerstone of his appeal.
During 90-minute conversation with Wadelius, Reeves stated he was tired “of pain and burning from chips planted by the CIA throughout his body, and experiencing sickness when certain satellites passed overhead.”
In his appeal, Reeves argued that “the trial judge erred by instructing the jury that his delusions could not raise a reasonable doubt regarding whether he had the specific intent required for murder because no expert evidence was adduced regarding the nature of any mental disorder or its effects.”
The verdict of manslaughter has been substituted for the second degree murder charge and will be sentenced for manslaughter at a later date.