Murder suspect to be assessed in Kamloops

Vernon man, 95, accused of killing 85-year-old roommate at extended care facility, to have assessment done

The Vernon nonagenarian accused of murder is being transferred to a Kamloops psychiatric facility for an assessment.

John Furman, 95, is charged with murder in connection with the death of an 85-year-old man at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Polson residential care facility Sunday night.

Furman’s matter was before the courts Wednesday morning.

Crown counsel Howard Pontious said he would be getting an assessment on Furman from the professional in Kamloops that would set out his status.

“It may become unnecessary to pursue a murder charge if it’s being dealt with adequately in the mental health system,” said Pontious, adding he’s not interested in incarcerating the accused.

“Unlike most murder cases, we’re not looking at punishment or retribution in this matter,” he said.

Pontious told the media he does not have the authority to stay the murder charge against Furman, but would discuss the matter with his bosses once the report from Kamloops is received.

Polson, operated by Interior Health, is a 26-bed secured demential unit that provides care for people whose dementia is complicated by behavioural or psychiatric issues.

Pontious said Wednesday Furman has no history of violence.

There was no counsel designate for Furman at Wednesday’s court appearance. Those who have Furman’s power of attorney are out of the country and Pontious said those with the power of attorney have not yet been contacted.

More details on this story to come…