Mom says killer should have murder conviction

The mother of a Kelowna woman killed in 1993 says the man responsible for her death should have been convicted of first-degree murder instead of manslaughter.
Jennifer Cusworth's mother Jean, in an undated photo, says she hasn't forgiven her daughter's killer. (CBC)
The mother of a college student killed 18 years ago in Kelowna, B.C., says the killer should have been convicted of first-degree murder instead of manslaughter.

Jean Cusworth said Friday that she's nowhere near forgiving Neil Snelson, who was convicted Thursday for the beating and strangulation death of her daughter Jennifer.

Cusworth said she and her husband Terry were willing to meet Snelson half way when he was arrested in 2009.

"Today, I wouldn't meet him anywhere," Cusworth told CKFR radio of 44-year-old Snelson, who was convicted Thursday.

"It isn't our forgiveness he needs, it's his own if he's going on move on with his life. But first of all he has to face what he's done and be held accountable for it, so he can learn to forgive himself.

"He refuses to accept responsibility for what he did. He dragged all of us through this very very painful trial, and his family as well. And the lies were incredible, that he told."

The Cusworths will give a victim impact statement at Snelson's sentencing hearing, which will be scheduled Tuesday.

Snelson, now a father of four children, killed Cusworth after the two attended the same house party in October 1993.

Jennifer Cusworth was 19 years old when she died. (RCMP)
His DNA was found on the 19-year-old college student's body. She'd been beaten, strangled and dumped in a ditch.

Snelson said he had sex with a woman in his truck after the party, but didn't know who she was because he was too drunk.

The Crown maintained Snelson picked up Cusworth in his truck while she was walking home, raped her and then killed her.

Court heard Snelson had arranged to meet friends at a fast food restaurant but didn't show up.