Murder trial hears of first date between victim, accused

The woman who introduced Donna Jones to Mark Hutt testified Monday she thinks her friend would still be alive if she hadn't set them up.

Accused played on same baseball team as friend of Donna Jones

Donna Jones and Mark Hutt pose during a trip to Florida where the pair got engaged in February 2006. (Provided)

The woman who introduced Donna Jones to Mark Hutt said she thinks her friend would still be alive if she hadn’t set them up on a blind date.

Melanie Houle testified Monday in Hutt’s first-degree murder trial she played on the same baseball team with Hutt and set the two up on a blind date.

Houle said Hutt seemed "nice and friendly" at the time.

Hutt is accused of scalding his then wife Jones and leaving her to die at her home in December 2009.  She died 11 days later after getting burned when the infection set in.

"I carry around extra guilt and grief," said Houle. "Had I not introduced them, then this wouldn't be the end result."

Cursing overheard on phone

Houle said she once overheard Hutt yelling at Jones while she was on the phone with her, asking her to admit she was a "f------ b----", which she then did.

At that moment, Houle said she knew her friend was "utterly defeated and broken down."

Jones was always frugal with her money, said Houle, but when she started dating Hutt she bought him an ATV, a pool table, and paid for his dental surgery and truck repairs.  She also bought motorcycle jackets for the both of them.

Donna Jones insisted on marrying Hutt, even after her friends raised concerns.

Houle said Jones' appearance started to change after they got engaged, that she stopped doing her hair and dressing well for work, appearing dishevelled like "she didn’t care anymore."

She testified Hutt would frequently call Jones when she was out with friends to check up on her. Sometimes he would call "every 15 minutes" then he would pick her up early, as she didn't drive.

A Disneyworld engagement

On Monday another of Jones' close friends told the court about the day the two of them got engaged.

Melissa Lavery said she, Hutt and Jones went to Disneyworld in Florida in February 2006 with two other couples.

The friend said Jones told her she would have to pay for Hutt's trip because he didn't have the money.

Hutt and Jones drove down to Orlando together as a way to save money and Jones would tell Lavery she and Hutt fought the entire trip, but she said she still accepted when he proposed to her.

Friends continue to testify this week

The trial had previously heard from other friends of Jones who said she completely changed or even stopped talking to them after her marriage to Hutt in 2007.

Krista Moulds said on Friday Jones told her she was afraid Hutt would commit suicide if she left him, as he had threatened.

Moulds also said she confronted Jones about handprint-shaped bruises on her arms, injuries Jones said came from falling off an ATV and having his dog jump on her.

Donna Jones was allegedly burned, beat and murdered by her husband, Mark Hutt.

Houle said Jones also told her that bruises on her arms were from the dog.

The Crown said at the beginning of the trial that Hutt’s "systematic abuse" of Donna Jones led to her death.

Besides the septic shock from the infected burns, the Crown said Jones was found with nine broken ribs, broken fingers, two black eyes and a broken nose when she was found dead.

Hutt had previously told police that Jones got burned when she fell into a firepit and that she didn't want to go to the hospital.

The trial will continue this week with more testimony from Jones' friends.