James Parise pleads guilty in death of Catherine Todd
Kitchener man James Parise pleaded guilty on Tuesday to manslaughter in the death of Catherine Todd, saying in court documents he had unintentionally killed the Kitchener woman after striking her in her apartment in a steroid-induced rage.
Parise, 26, was initially charged with second-degree murder in relation to Todd's death.
An agreed statement of fact presented in court Tuesday outlines what Crown and defense lawyers believe happened on March 18, 2013, the night Todd was killed.
However, the document notes the Crown is not in a position to dispute Parise's version of events, since he was alone with Todd at the time of her death and her body was never recovered.
Local musician turned to prostitution
Court documents report Todd was an accomplished local musician who once played professionally, but had turned to prostitution in order to feed her cocaine addiction.
On the night of her death, the documents show Todd received several text messages from Parise, who said he wanted to avail himself of her services. In one of the messages, he offered her $220 for two hours of her time.
Parise was high on cocaine at the time he arrived at Todd's Heritage Park apartment and Todd had promised to get him more of the drug.
Parise claims he was robbed
Todd knew that Parise was carrying a large quantity of cash, according to the court documents. "In addition to the $220 he paid," the documents said, "he had in excess of $1,000 in a billfold earmarked to pay his employee, Clayton Dewald the following day."
Parise was sitting on Todd's bed when he noticed "what appeared to be a white male approximately 6 ft. tall standing over him and swinging his arm in a downward motion towards Parise's head."
The documents shows Parise tried in vain to defend himself and was struck with a hard metal object on his temple and hand, knocking him off the bed and onto the floor.
The man left with Parise's money and after a few moments Parise flew into a rage.
Parise loses control
"Disoriented and injured, Parise stood up after a brief period had elapsed and began swinging angrily at [Todd] who was now the only person in the room," court documents said. "He struck her 3-4 times with his fists in the area of her head."
Steroids were discovered during a police search of Parise's bedroom. According to the court documents, Parise had told undercover officers he used steroids and it may have been the reason why he lost control.
However, the documents note Parise did not say anything to the officers about how or why Todd was killed.
Parise enlists friend to dump body
On the following morning, Parise enlisted his best friend, Clayton Dewald, via text messaging to bring a truck to Todd's apartment so Parise could help dispose of a couch for a friend.
Dewald arrived at Todd's building to find Parise with a love seat wrapped in a blanket that was tied down with rope or electrical tape, covering what Dewald believed were stuffed animals.
The pair loaded the couch into the truck and dropped it into a dumpster at the dump, court documents note.
The statement of fact points out that Waterloo Regional Police detectives thought it was clear that Dewald had no idea he had helped Parise dispose of Todd's body. When Dewald was informed of his role, "he was almost physically ill."
Parise returns with cleaning supplies
Court documents show Parise used a ladder to climb onto the second-floor balcony of Todd's apartment to clean up the crime scene and collect some of Todd's belongings.
He later had his 18-year-old girlfriend Dhesie Vilbar pick him up and take him along with five garbage bags and a wooden table to a rural road in the Guelph area where the items were doused in gasoline and lit on fire.
It was the same day, March 21, that Todd was reported missing by her longtime boyfriend Carson Pryde after he hadn't heard from her for a few days.
Todd was often seen walking her white Jack Russell terrier dog in the neighbourhood around her apartment, located at 50 Lorraine Ave. near River Road East in Kitchener, before she disappeared.
Waterloo Regional Police searched her apartment, which led police to suspect foul play and the case was turned over to the homicide unit.
'Unprecedented' search for Todd's body
Police began searching for Catherine Todd on March 28, a search court documents call "unprecedented in the history of the Waterloo Regional Police."
They spent 41 days searching the Erb Street landfill for Todd's body, while the court statement notes, "the cost of machinery rentals, meals, protective clothing and waste management charges totalled almost $170,000."
The search was called off on May 16 when nothing was found.
Parise will appear in a Waterloo Regional courtroom for sentencing next Tuesday.