Girlfriend found guilty in Toronto axe murder
A Toronto woman has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the violent slaying of her longtime boyfriend.
Nicola Puddicombe, 36, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Dennis Hoy, who was struck in the head six times with the blunt end of an axe on Oct. 27, 2006, while he slept in her bed.
An Ontario Superior Court jury determined Thursday evening that she was guilty.
Prosecutors argued that Puddicombe wanted to kill Hoy, a GO Transit operator, to cash in on the payout money from his insurance policy and to start a new life with Ashleigh Pechaluk, who was also charged in the killing.
The Crown and the defence agreed that Puddicombe didn't wield the axe to kill Hoy and Pechaluk was the perpetrator.
But prosecutors said the lovers plotted to murder Hoy, with Puddicombe persuading Pechaluk, 25, to carry out the actual attack.
Pechaluk was acquitted of Hoy's murder in a separate trial earlier this year and was a star witness against Puddicombe. None of Pechaluk's testimony in the earlier trial could be used against her in criminal or civil court.
Crown attorney Tom Lissaman said in his closing submissions that Puddicombe and Pechaluk were "entwined" in the plot, though Puddicombe was calling the shots.
Pechaluk confession inadmissible
Defence lawyer Richard Stern told jurors the reverse was true, arguing Pechaluk was a younger-by-a-decade seductress who lured Puddicombe into her first same-sex relationship and quietly hatched the murderous plot behind her back.
Pechaluk confessed to killing Hoy on the same day that his body was found.
"She [Puddicombe] didn't do it ... I did it," a weeping Pechaluk told detectives in the videotaped statement played in court at Puddicombe's trial.
The statement was never heard by the jury that cleared Pechaluk of the first-degree murder charge earlier this year.
The confession was legally inadmissible because she wasn't read her rights to counsel, court heard.
With files from The Canadian Press