Calgary

'We're trying to heal': Lacey Jones McKnight's loved ones rally at murder appeal

More than four years after her daughter was murdered, Shelly Jones is still carrying out her self-assigned mission to secure "Justice for Lacey" in the form of a first-degree murder conviction and the accompanying life sentence with no parole for at least 25 years for the killer.

Kristopher Guenther was sentenced to life in prison for 1st-degree murder

The mother of Lacey Jones McKnight, right, says she wants to see that justice is served for her daughter. Kristopher Guenther, who was found guilty of first-degree-murder, is appealing his conviction. (Facebook)

More than four years after her daughter was murdered, Shelly Jones is still carrying out her self-assigned mission to secure "Justice for Lacey." 

Today it means she's hoping the Alberta Court of Appeal will uphold Kristopher Guenther's first-degree murder conviction.

"Justice for Lacey" became Jones' motto after her daughter Lacey Jones McKnight was murdered by her fiance, Kristopher Guenther, in 2012.

Purple stickers bearing the mantra can be found all over Calgary — hundreds, if not thousands, of them cover lampposts, bumpers and buildings.

Justice for Lacey is a campaign started by Lacey Jones McKnight's mother in the wake of her daughter's murder. (Facebook)

On Wednesday, Jones repeated the words again after she attended Kristopher Guenther's appeal. 

"We're here to ensure that my daughter Lacey gets justice," said Jones.

Victim's hands, feet, mouth taped: Crown

Guenther's lawyer Kim Ross is trying to have his client's first-degree murder conviction reduced to second-degree murder. 

Jones Mcknight was strangled in October 2012, after she and Guenther got into a fight when she discovered he was cheating on her.

Guenther testified in his own defence at trial and admitted to killing Jones McKnight. 

Lacey Jones Mcknight's mother went to visit her grave after the verdict came down in 2015. (CBC)

During the trial, court heard evidence that Guenther told a friend he'd taped Jones McKnight's hands, feet and mouth and putting a plastic bag over her head.

Based on evidence of tape and rope found on her body and in his car, the original trial judge found Jones Mcknight was forcibly confined during the killing which elevated the crime to first-degree murder.

But Ross argued the tape and rope were previously used for consensual sex, not during the killing.

"We're trying to heal and here we are again opening all those wounds," said Jones.

Crown prosecutor Dave Labrenz argued the high court should respect the trial judge's decision.

Shelly Jones (bottom row, third from the right) and her supporters gathered at the Calgary Courts Centre to attend Kristopher Guenther's appeal. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

On Wednesday, Jones brought an entourage of supporters to court, filling up one side of the gallery.

"All of those horrific details, they're thrown back out and they're at the top of our mind," said Jones. "That's not how we want to remember Lacey."

"It's been four-and-a-half years; he's already been sentenced for first-degree and we're going to ensure that sticks."

The panel of judges at the Alberta Court of Appeal is expected to release its decision later this year.

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