Edmonton

Edward Chomiak guilty of murder in deaths of ex-wife, her daughter

Edward Chomiak has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of his ex-wife and her daughter in December 2010.

Melody Perry and her daughter Jerica Bouchard were killed on Dec. 15, 2010

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

Edward Chomiak has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his ex-wife Melody Perry in December 2010.

Chomiak, 55, was also found guilty Thursday of second-degree murder in the death of Perry's daughter, Jerica Bouchard.

A first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence, with no chance of parole for 25 years. Ten victim impact statements are now expected to be read in court. He will be sentenced on Friday. 

Perry's brother Wayne Perry wept outside court as he described his family's reaction to the judge's decision. 

"That gives him 25 years to think of what he's done to my sister and my niece," he said. 

"And you know, is 25 years actually enough? That's another question. Hopefully, it is. Hopefully he never sees the light of day again as a free person."  

Melody Perry and Jerica Bouchard were slain in Perry's mobile home near Falher, Alta. in December 2010. (Supplied )

Perry sobbed as he noted the decision came on what would have been his late mother's birthday. 

"It's a hell of a birthday present for my mom," he said.  

Chomiak's lawyer Naeem Rauf said he was "surprised and very disappointed" by the judge's decision. He said he plans to appeal. 

Perry, 45, and Bouchard, 20, were gunned down in Perry's mobile home near Falher, Alta., on the morning of Dec. 15, 2010. 

Justice Mary Moreau found the accused planned to kill Perry. Chomiak showed up at the house with a handgun and a rifle, and waited until Perry's new boyfriend went to work before moving onto the property. 

The judge ruled Chomiak didn't have the same premeditation when it came to killing Bouchard.

Bouchard had just moved in with her mother three weeks before, and the judge felt there was no way to determine whether Chomiak was aware of that. 

Perry was killed in the ensuite bathroom of the mobile home. She was shot 15 times. Ten bullet holes were found in the bathroom door.

Her daughter was shot five times. 

Wayne Perry said his family was relieved by the judge's decision. A first-degree murder conviction automatically comes with a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. (Janice Johnston/CBC )

At the time of the murders, Chomiak was under a court order that required him to stay away from Perry and Bouchard. In November 2010, he was ordered to pay Perry $3,000 a month in support payments. 

As an interim move, Chomiak was given a Dec.18, 2010, deadline to hand over $8,500 to Perry. She was killed three days before that deadline. 

No physical evidence at the scene 

In a recorded 911 call played in court earlier this week, Perry a told an operator that Chomiak was in her home, that he had a gun and had already killed her daughter.

Sara Schapansky, a friend of Bouchard's who was there that morning, testified that she recognized Chomiak's voice when a man arrived at the mobile home.

She said she heard Perry ask the man, "What are you doing here? And what are you doing here with a gun?"

Schapansky then fled from the mobile home and hid in a car outside.

Chomiak's lawyer said there were no fingerprints, footprints or blood stains that tied his client to the murder scene.

He said that should create reasonable doubt in the mind of the judge.

Chomiak had a loaded pistol in his pocket and a rifle in his truck when he was arrested by police.

Ballistics tests showed some of the bullets taken from the women's bodies matched Chomiak's weapons.

Falher is about 430 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

With files from the CBC's Janice Johnston

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