WARNING: This story contains graphic details and is not suitable for all readers
Closing arguments in the trial of a man who brutally killed a couple at their home in Vancouver’s Marpole neighbourhood in 2017 began on Tuesday.
Rocky Rambo Wei Nam Kam has pleaded not-guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, though has admitted to the slayings and described them in detail on the stand.
The question before the court now is not whether Kam killed respected occupational therapist Dianna Mah-Jones, 64, and her retired husband Richard Jones, 68, but whether it was planed and deliberate.
Mah-Jones suffered a slit throat while Jones had been hacked with a hatchet and stabbed more than 100 times. The two were found in a blood-splattered shower stall, in a scene police described as “catastrophic.”
The court has heard that Kam was obsessed with violent video games, and the judge ruled last week that testimony from a psychologist, arguing he may have been in a “gaming consciousness,” was admissible.
Defence lawyer Glen Orris told the court that Crown had not proved the case for murder beyond a reasonable doubt.
“If Crown has not proven the requisite for murder then there could only be a conviction of manslaughter,” Orris told the court.
The court has seen video evidence showing Kam purchasing a hatchet, gloves and other items used in the killing, which could possibly show planning, but Orris said there is no evidence of deliberation.
Orris has argued that Kam, who has testified to spending up to 15 hours a day playing video games and reading online comics, suffered from a mental disorder at the time of the killings, and believed he was in one of his games.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Edward Shen previously testified that when he interviews Kam two years after the killings, Kam could remember the slayings but could not speak to his intent.
He said it was possible Kam was “operating in a game consciousness” and that the accused might have anticipated “gaming consequences instead of real consequences.”
In his closing arguments, Crown prosecutor Daniel Mulligan argued that the issue was not that Kam was unable to reveal his motive, but that he was unwilling.
“Mr. Kam is not a credible witness,” Mulligan told the court. “He’s a demonstrated liar.”
Mulligan told the court that Kam had a deliberate plan to inflict pain and kill at least one person.
Crown told the court the crimes were premeditated – Kam bought the weapons, he hid before both attacks and deliberately dumped evidence.
Crown says Dr. Shen’s opinions should be given little weight because of the inconsistencies in Kam’s evidence.
Crown has previously shown evidence that Kam had done internet searches for crime scene cleanup, tasers and drugs to knock people out, suggesting it was part of his preparation for the crime.
He noted that while on the stand over several days of testimony, Kam never told the court he thought he was in a game.
Crown is slated to resume its closing arguments on Wednesday.