A man accused of scalding his wife with boiling water and leaving her to die changed his story about how his wife was burned during a police interrogation, an Ottawa court heard today.
Sgt. Mike Hudson said he brought Mark Hutt in for an interview thinking Hutt was a "grieving husband" and not as a suspect after Hutt's wife Donna Jones was found dead in their home on Dec. 6, 2009.
But Hudson said that perspective changed as Hutt's story changed during the three-hour interview.
The jury in Hutt's first-degree murder trial watched a three-hour video of Hutt's interview with Sgt. Hudson for the first time Thursday.
Jones had burns over her back and much of her body when police and paramedics responded to a 911 call from Hutt.
At the house, Hutt told police Jones was burned after she fell into a fire pit at a work conference in Cornwall.
But in the interview shown to the courtroom on Thursday, Hutt changed his story, and claimed he had accidentally scalded Jones with a pot of water he was boiling to make noodles.
'I didn't know she was there'
Hutt told Hudson during the interview that Jones had threatened to leave him and the two had an argument in the kitchen.
He then said he thought Jones had left when he hit a pot of boiling water off the stove. Jones, he said, was actually still in the kitchen.
"I didn't know she was there," he told Hudson.
"The evidence won't show the water was poured on her?" Hudson asked Hutt.
"No,no it was flung," Hutt responded in the video.
Jones told her parents she was in Cornwall because she didn't want them to know "she was burnt from head to toe", said Hutt.
"She was afraid her parents were going to blame me for everything," said Hutt. "I was willing to take the rap for it."
Hudson asked if there were any other injuries to Jones's body that are not burn related.
Hutt explained that a few weeks earlier they were playing paintball, and she may have welts on her legs from that. He also said that two years earlier he accidently shot her with a pellet gun and two pellets were still embedded in her knee cap because she didn't want to get medical treatment to have them removed. He explained that she also had a broken finger from a dog bite.
Jones was found with several cracked ribs, a broken finger, third and fourth degree burns to 40 per cent of her body, two black eyes and a broken nose.
Hutt said he last saw Jones alive three hours before he called 911, at which time he said, she was talking and laughing with him.
No tears from accused, officer says
When Hudson left the interview room in the video, Hutt could be seen sobbing with his head in his hands and said "Why didn't you let me bring you to the hospital?"
Hudson told the court that while Hutt could be heard sobbing in the video, but that "there were no tears" in his eyes when Hudson returned to the interview room.
The police sergeant also asked Hutt if he was burned when he struck the pot. Hudson said Hutt had no injuries.
Hutt also told Hudson during the interview that he pawned items to buy bandages and polysporin to treat his wife's wounds. In the video Hutt gave the police a receipt from the pawn shop. Hutt, who was unemployed, said his father also gave him money to buy medicine.
Crime scene photos show only one of Jones's arms was bandaged, even though she had third and fourth degree burns on her back, shoulders, arms, chest and thighs.
In the video Hutt refers to his wife as "sweetheart" and said "I have nothing to live for." Some former co-workers of Jones were in the court and shook their heads when the video played.
Hutt said "never had police ever been to his house before."
While the video played Hutt sat in the prisoner's box, staring at his hands and did not look up at the video.
Burn expert said wounds too severe to fight back
Earlier witnesses said Hutt told them Jones refused to go to hospital, physically fought him off and screamed at him when he wanted to take her to get medical help.
He told police he treated her pain with Tylenol. When she had problems breathing, he said he gave her puffs from his asthma inhaler and when he thought she was having an allergic reaction he gave her Benadryl.
On Wednesday, the court heard from burn expert Dr. Joel Fish, who said the burns were consistent with someone having a pot full of hot water poured over them as they crouched down.
Fish said there would be no way someone in septic shock would be able to "physically hit and scream" to prevent someone from taking them to the hospital for treatment because the person would be too weak.
Friends of victim in courtroom
Jones died 11 days after the incident of septic shock after her untreated burn wounds became infected. The Crown alleges Hutt burned Jones and then left her to die.
Several friends of Jones in the courtroom could be seen crying and shaking their heads as they watched Hutt describe his version of events in the video.
Jones's friends and family had earlier testified that they believed Hutt was abusive and said that they had tried to intervene to stop Jones from marrying him.