Hutt found guilty of first-degree murder

An Ottawa man accused of scalding his wife with boiling water and then leaving her to die in 2009 has been found guilty of first-degree murder.

Loud cheers, applause erupt in courtroom as jury delivers verdict

Derek Jones talks to reporters outside the courtroom after Mark Hutt was sentenced to first-degree murder in the 2009 death of Donna Jones. 2:09

An Ottawa man accused of scalding his wife with boiling water and then leaving her to die in 2009 has been found guilty of first-degree murder.

Donna Jones, 33, was burned, beaten and left for dead by her husband, Mark Hutt.

Mark Hutt, 36, was charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 death of his wife, Donna Jones.

Hutt will have no chance of parole for at least 25 years.

The jury had begun deliberations Thursday afternoon and delivered its verdict Friday morning to loud cheers and applause in the courtroom.

The defence had argued on Wednesday, as the trial entered its fifth week, Hutt should be found guilty of the lesser crime of criminal negligence causing death.

The jury could have found Hutt guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or criminal negligence causing death.

Derek Jones, Donna's brother, said outside the courtroom the verdict provided some closure for his family.

"An evil man was put to jail for evil crimes done to my sister, and he will pay for the rest of his life," said Derek Jones.

Jones said his sister's death should be a wake-up call to women in abusive relationships to seek out help.

"Please, don't allow it to happen, get help, there's lots of support networks out there, you deserve better, you don't need to suffer anything," said Jones.

Trial timeline

Here's a look at some of the key days of testimony in the trial:

The trial began with Crown prosecutor Meaghan Cunningham alleging Hutt scalded his wife and then left her to die in the basement of her home. "Mark Hutt systemically abused Donna Jones — physically, psychologically, financially," said Cunningham.

Jones's family and friends testified that they confronted Jones about suspecting abuse in the relationship and tried to get her to call off the wedding. "Donna wasn't her happy-go-lucky self. She became cold, suspicious, fearful," said her brother Derek.

Childhood friends of Donna Jones took the stand and described their concerns as Jones prepared to marry Hutt. "Seeing her in an unhealthy relationship, I didn't want her to marry that man. I was fearful for her," said Krista Moulds.

Another friend said Jones was "utterly defeated and broken down" after living with Hutt and that she spent lavishly to buy her husband gifts.

Donna Jones and Mark Hutt married in 2007. (submitted)

An Ottawa police officer testified in court Thursday that Donna Jones died one day before the officer could meet with her concerning allegations of spousal abuse.

Police and paramedics who responded after Hutt called 911 said they were shocked by the extent of Jones's injuries. "I've never seen anything like this in my life," said Ottawa police Det. Tara Anderson.

A burn expert testified Jones's injuries were consistent with someone who had a "kitchen pot" of hot liquid poured over her back.

Police showed this air gun taken from Hutt's home to the jury in court.

Hutt had told police his wife had burned herself when she fell into a fire pit, but in a police interview shown to the court, he changed his story and admitted he had knocked over a pot of boiling water onto her accidentally.

In a second interview with police shown in court, Hutt said that he could understand a charge of negligence in her death, but didn't believe he should be charged with murder.

A police forensic officer gave a detailed description of the crime scene in the basement of the victim's home and said more than 30 pellets were found in Jones's body.

Dr. Christopher Milroy told the court Jones had extensive burns and injuries, including nine fractured ribs and 29 air gun pellets embedded in her body.

Hutt's lawyer argued that criminal neglect that killed Jones, not abuse, while the Crown argued Hutt constantly abused his wife until the day she died.