Calgary

Sheena Cuthill denies orchestrating plot to kill ex Ryan Lane over custody

Although Sheena Cuthill testified that she knew "force" would be used when her husband and his brother confronted Ryan Lane, she denied orchestrating a plot to kill him.

It's not yet known if Wilhelm or Tim Rempel will take the stand in their own defence

Sheena Cuthill testified that she did not want Ryan Lane to have visitation rights with the daughter they shared. (CBC/Submitted by Ryan Lane's family)

Although Sheena Cuthill testified that she knew "force" would be used when her husband and his brother confronted her ex, Ryan Lane, she denied orchestrating a plot to kill him.

The 30-year-old testified about a plan to scare Lane into giving up on his efforts to have visits with the daughter they shared. 

Cuthill took the stand in her own defence for the first time Friday in Calgary. She's charged with first-degree-murder alongside her husband, Tim Rempel, and his brother, Wilhelm Rempel.

"I knew there'd be force," said Cuthill. "I wasn't expecting them to just talk to Ryan and Ryan just willingly walk away."

Earlier in the trial, the prosecution presented evidence of text messages and phone calls between the three accused after the first mediation session that was aimed at working out a parenting plan between Lane and Cuthill.

"Can I trust Will to have this done without the cops showing up at my door?" Cuthill texted her husband after the mediation session.

Cuthill's lawyer, Alain Hepner asked her to explain what the messages meant.

That message according to Cuthill was about a plan to convince Lane to stop fighting for visits with his daughter.

"It was to meet with Ryan and kind of scare him," said Cuthill. "To make him walk away."

'Did you want him hurt or killed'

Lane disappeared on Feb. 6, 2012. Human remains were found in a burn barrel near Beiseker months later along with Lane's class ring and pieces of his cell phone.

He was seen getting into a truck that matched one Wilhelm Rempel used a pressure washer to clean the inside of and then sold in the days following Lane's disappearance.

DNA from Lane was found in both Rempel brothers' trucks.

"Did you want him hurt or killed?" Hepner asked Cuthill.

"No, there was no discussion of that," she said.

'I didn't want him to have anything'

Cuthill admitted to living a rough, at times violent lifestyle before her first child was born but explained to the jury that she'd changed.

Over and over, she testified that text messages the Crown says are evidence of a murder plot are actually "inappropriate jokes" and general "venting."

"I'd been trying to change my ways since I became a mom," she said.

Cuthill says after her second child was born she suffered postpartum depression and was prescribed anti-depressants.

"I was not happy most of the time." 

"It was getting to me," Cuthill said of Lane's efforts to see his daughter. "I didn't want him to have anything."

The prosecution team of Tom Buglas and Shane Parker will cross-examine Cuthill on Monday.

It's not yet known whether defence lawyers Allan Fay and Jim Lutz  who represent Tim Rempel and Wilhelm Rempel respectively will call their clients.

now