Convicted B.C. killer did not understand consequences of his guilty plea, appeal court hears

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A psychologist and psychiatrist who evaluated Phillip Tallio before the guilty plea that landed him in prison for most of his life both testified this week that they believed he did not have the intellect to understand the seriousness of his situation. One expert recalled that Tallio thought pleading guilty in October to the murder of his cousin might mean a better chance of getting home for Christmas. Dr. Peggy Koopman, a registered psychologist, told the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver on Monday that Tallio had a “blind faith” that somebody — perhaps his defence lawyer — was going to come and save him. “Phil Rankin was his rescuer,” Koopman said, referring to Tallio’s lead lawyer. “He was sort of trusting … it would come out OK.”