Calgary

Woman's stabbing death a case of 'tortured love,' prosecution tells ex-boyfriend's murder trial

Just hours before she was due in court to fight for more custody of her son, Jessica Newman was fatally stabbed 75 times in a case of "tortured love," a Calgary prosecutor has told jurors at Kevin Rubletz' second-degree murder trial.

Kevin Rubletz is charged with 2nd-degree murder

Kevin Rubletz is on trial for 2nd-degree murder in the death of his former girlfriend, Jessica Newman, 24. (CBC/Facebook)

Just hours before she was due in court to fight for more custody of her son, Jessica Newman was fatally stabbed 75 times in a case of "tortured love," a Calgary prosecutor has told jurors at Kevin Rubletz' second-degree murder trial.

The trial got underway Monday morning with prosecutor Shane Parker's opening statement. Parker outlined the evidence the Crown plans to present during the three-week trial.

Newman and Rubletz had an on-again, off-again relationship and had a child together. At the time of her death, they were seeing other people but were exchanging messages of "romance, sex and love" between December 2014 and March 2015.

"This was a crime of passion," said Parker.

'Intimate and vulnerable'

On March 10, 2015 — the last day Newman was seen alive — Rubletz picked her up after work. He told police the two got a coffee and that he dropped her off at home around 9:30 p.m.

But Parker says the evidence will tell a different story.

The Crown's theory is that Newman was sitting in the front seat of Rubletz' van in a state of undress — when her body was found, Newman's black lace dress was found pulled down to her waist — indicates the killing was spontaneous but intentional.

"Her state of undress infers the murder happened while she was intimate and vulnerable," said Parker. 

Jurors heard Calgary police questioned Rubletz several times and noted changes in his version of events. 

Newman's DNA in Rubletz car

At one point, he told police they could have his cellphone but then said he'd lost it.

After Newman's body was discovered in May 2015 in a ditch near Balzac, Rubletz's grandmother, mother and stepfather took the van to a scrap yard but police were able to intercept it and run tests. 

A forensic police expert will testify that a "bloodletting event" took place in Rubletz' van and Newman's DNA was discovered on the front passenger seat. Parker told jurors the van shows evidence of a "botched cleanup."

The couple was supposed to attend court on March 11, 2015. Newman was excited at the prospect of getting more time with her son and had rearranged her schedule so that she could attend. Newman never showed up but Rubletz did.

Parker said the case is "a classic whodunnit."

Newman 'battling' for custody

Newman's ex-boyfriend Ryan Chamberlain is the prosecution's first witness. He dated Newman twice; in 2008 and again around the time she was killed.

"She was nice to absolutely everybody," said Chamberlain. "She was just bubbly, happy, outgoing."

Chamberlain said Newman was "battling for 50 per cent custody" of her youngest son and had been changing her life to be a better mother to her sons.

The three-week jury trial is being presided over by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Glen Poelman. Rubletz is represented by defence lawyers Brendan Miller and Joshua Sutherland.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or follow her on Twitter.

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