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Man charged in six deaths found fit to stand trial

PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. -- Bruce Blackman, charged with killing six members of his family, wept quietly in the prisoner's box when he was declared fit to stand trial after three months in a mental hospital.

The 22-year-old Blackman, who was found unfit to stand trial in February, was remanded in custody at the Forensic Psychiatric Center in Coquitlam until a May 17 appearance in provincial court.

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Blackman was charged Jan. 18 with six counts of first-degree murder, hours after police discovered the bodies of his parents, two sisters, a brother and brother-in-law in the family's fashionable home in suburban Coquitlam.

The court remanded him for a 30-day psychiatric examination. He returned to court Feb. 9, a week earlier than scheduled, and was found unfit to stand trial.

At his second court appearance, Blackman had tears streaming down his face as Dr. Philip Adilman of the psychiatric center testified.

The proceedings lasted about 45 minutes. Judge Alfred Scow banned publication of evidence.

Outside the courtroom, crown prosecutor Pedro De Couto said Blackman was 'now back in the mainstream of the criminal justice system.

The victims in the mass killing were Richard Blackman, 50, an employee of the Vancouver fire department and father of the accused; his wife Irene, 49, and their son, Richard, 16.

Also killed were Roberta Lynn Davies, 28, and her husband John Davies, 39, both of North Vancouver; and Karen Dale Rhodes, 25, of Coquitlam. Mrs. Rhodes and Mrs. Davies were sisters of the accused.

Friends said they believed the family had gathered the night before the slayings to discuss a family problem.

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