Calgary

'Contorted, twisted passion' was motive for Jessica Newman's murder, jury hears in closing arguments

A deadly mix of jealousy, love and "passion gone wrong" was the motive for the murder of 24-year-old Jessica Newman, jurors heard in closing arguments at Kevin Rubletz's murder trial Wednesday.

Kevin Rubletz is on trial for 2nd-degree murder in the death of his former girlfriend

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

A deadly mix of jealousy, love and "passion gone wrong" was motive for the murder of 24-year-old Jessica Newman, who was turning her life around and trying to be a better mother for her two-year-old son.

It's a case of "redemption interrupted," prosecutor Shane Parker said to jurors in his closing arguments Wednesday at Kevin Rubletz's second-degree murder trial. 

Newman was last seen in March 2015. It would be two months before her body was found in a rural ditch near Balzac. She was wearing a sweatshirt belonging to Rubletz's mother. The medical examiner has testified she suffered 75 stab wounds. 

Rubletz and Newman had a mostly loving, on-again, off-again relationship and shared a son. But when she began bettering herself — drinking less, going to the gym and dating another man — Rubletz found his "fuel for murder," according to the Crown.

Closing statements were made by Crown and defence lawyers on Wednesday. 

Parker said Rubletz's rage at the fact Newman no longer depended on him festered into a "contorted, twisted passion."

The former couple were due in court the day after she disappeared. They planned to alter their custody arrangement and allow Newman more access to her son.

On March 10, 2015, the day before their family court hearing for Newman to get 50 per cent custody, Rubletz picked her up from work and the two had coffee. He told police he dropped her off at home afterward.

But in a second interview, when investigators told Rubletz they would be collecting surveillance camera video from that night, he then said he had driven to Balzac to clear his head. 

"Of all the places in the world, he injects Balzac into the investigation, two months before Jessica Newman is found," Parker told jurors. 

'Like she fell off the face of the earth'

At the family court hearing, Rubletz attended while Newman was a "no-show."

Despite exchanging thousands of texts, after March 10, 2015, Rubletz never messaged Newman again. 

"It's like she fell off the face of the earth on the 10th," said Parker.

But Defence lawyers say there is evidence that her footprints of life — proof she was alive — continued after March 10, 2015. 

A witness testified Tuesday that he saw a young woman he believed to be Newman in Forest Lawn on the night of March 11, 2015. 

According to defence lawyers Brendan Miller and Josh Sutherland, Rubletz was not the last person to see Newman alive. The lawyers have pointed the finger at the accused's mother and stepfather as the real killers.

Deliberations begin Thursday

Paperwork that Rubletz and Newman were reviewing ahead of the hearing was found inside the victim's bedroom, which defence says proves she went home after their coffee date.

The victim was wearing a hooded sweatshirt belonging to Rubletz's mother when her body was found. She, along with her husband and mother, brought the van —where Newman is believed to have been killed — to a pick-and-pull operation the day after her body was discovered in a ditch near Balzac.

Miller reminded jurors they must acquit if they have a reasonable doubt.

"You have to act on it," he said.

Jurors will hear final instructions on how to apply the law to their deliberations from Court of Queen's Bench Justice Glen Poelman before being sequestered on Thursday.

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.

now