Edmonton

Edward Chomiak, accused of killing ex-wife and her daughter, finally on trial

Edward Chomiak, 55, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the December 2010 deaths of his ex-wife Melody Perry and her 20-year-old daughter, Jerica Bouchard.

Warning: this story contains graphic descriptions of violence that may disturb some readers

Edward Chomiak is led from the courthouse in Peace River, Alta. on Monday. (Janice Johnston/CBC News )

After years of delays, the Edward Chomiak trial finally began late Monday afternoon in Peace River.

Chomiak, 55, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the December 2010 deaths of his ex-wife Melody Perry and her 20-year-old daughter, Jerica Bouchard.

Chomiak shuffled into court bound by leg shackles and softly entered pleas of "not guilty" when the charges were read. He was allowed to sit beside his lawyer as hundreds of photos were entered as exhibits at the trial.

The pictures depict a chilling, grisly crime scene. The two women died that day in a barrage of bullets.

An autopsy report reveals Perry was shot as many as 15 times.  Her body was found in the ensuite bathroom of the remote mobile home where she lived just west of Falher, Alta.

Melody Perry (Supplied)

Medical examiner Dr. Graeme Dowling wrote, "There is a wound to Perry's right cheek where powder burns were observed. The range for this gunshot would have been between one and three feet. Two of the gunshot wounds to the head would have been lethal."

Bouchard's body was found slumped against cabinets in the kitchen. The medical examiner determined she had been shot five times. The fatal wound was to her head.

Restraining order

At the time of their deaths, Chomiak was bound by a restraining order to stay away from the two women.

Ten months before she was gunned down, Perry filed an affidavit that led to the restraining order.  In it she wrote, "I don't know where Edward is at this time but I'm afraid of what he might do next time and just how far he will go to hurt me."

In November 2010, Chomiak was ordered to pay his estranged wife $3,000 a month in support payments.  It was supposed to be retroactive to the beginning of that year.

As an interim move, Chomiak was given a Dec.18, 2010 deadline to hand over $8,500 to Perry.

She was murdered December 15th, just three days before that deadline.

Evidence of a break-in

Perry's mobile home was decorated for Christmas the morning of her death. 

Stockings had been hung. The tree was up and a fresh pine wreath adorned the door.  

Perry and her daughter were inside the mobile home when someone crashed through that door before 8 a.m.

When police arrived on the scene, they found the door unlocked, a chip of wood taken out of the frame, denting on the door above the deadbolt, and most disturbing of all, red stains around the doorknob.

Officers spotted a pair of legs as they approached the kitchen. Jerica Bouchard was still sitting up, leaning against the cabinets, her head tilted to the side.  A pair of glasses was on the floor in front of her, stained by blood.

A photo entered as an exhibit at the Edward Chomiak trial shows the bullet holes in the door to the bathroom where Melody Perry was found dead. (Court exhibit )

The RCMP followed a trail of expended .22 calibre bullet cartridges towards the master bedroom and spotted the door that led to the ensuite bathroom.

It was riddled with bullet holes. Melody Perry's body was inside the blood-soaked bathroom. The 45-year-old was slumped against the wall, wearing blue jeans, a light blue sweatshirt and white socks. Court has been told she called 911 that morning, begging for help.

A cell phone was found in the bathroom

Chomiak arrested same morning

Edward Chomiak was arrested later that same morning.  RCMP found him in his truck.

They also found an unloaded .22 calibre rifle on the passenger seat along with more than 200 rounds of live ammunition.

Officers seized a pair of Bushnell binoculars, effective up to 1,000 metres, from the truck along with a bag of latex gloves. One of the gloves appeared to have been used.

In cross-examination of Sgt. Bruce Vogel, defence lawyer Naeem Rauf established no forensic evidence, including fingerprints belonging to Chomiak,were found at the crime scene.

The trial continues Tuesday. The 911 call made by Melody Perry on the morning of her murder is expected to be played in open court.  

RCMP found a .22 calibre rifle inside Chomiak's truck when he was arrested. (Court exhibit )

Corrections

  • The original version of this story erroneously reported Edward Chomiak was ordered to pay Melody Perry $85,000 by Dec. 18, 2010. In fact, the amount was $8,500.
    Aug 11, 2016 11:54 AM MT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston

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