Assessment applied for in case of 95-year-old Vernon murder suspect

The application to assess John Furman is to be heard Wednesday in Supreme Court in Kamloops

An assessment under the Mental Health Act has been applied for in B.C. Supreme Court in the case of a 95-year-old Vernon man accused of murder.

The application to assess John Furman is to be heard Wednesday in Supreme Court in Kamloops. Furman is charged with murder in connection with  the death of William May, 85, at the Polson extended care facility in Vernon Aug. 18.

“Mr. Furman is charged with very serious matters, but intention has to be proven,” said Glenn Verdurmen, Furman‘s lawyer, following a provincial court appearance on the case Wednesday morning. “In these particular circumstances, he’s 95, has a very good record in the community and is very well loved by the community.

“His capacity is what’s in question right now.”

The application before Supreme Court is for Furman to undergo an assessment at a Kamloops facility. Verdurmen said that assessment will be “very determinate” of the matter concerning his capacity.

“The expectation is, there will be a question that he could form any intention to commit such a crime,” said Verdurmen of the murder charge.

A decorated Second World War veteran who has no immediate family in Vernon, Furman was supported in provincial court Wednesday by a dozen community members, including his powers of attorney.  Nobody would speak to the media.

“These people care for him enormously,” said Verdurmen. “They’re very concerned about what’s happening to him. They are cognizant that he has a sterling reputation and  was a contributor to the nation and the community.

“From what the accusations are, it’s very much out of character from the way he’s lived his whole life.”

Asked several questions by reporters if he’d spoken to Furman, if he could say if Furman was remorseful or depressed, Verdurmen declined to answer anything about discussions with his client.

The matter against Furman was adjourned until Nov. 27.

Furman’s original court matter was on Aug. 21.


“The system works slowly sometimes,” said Verdurmen.



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