New Brunswick

Grenada man accused in death of Linnea Veinotte may not go to trial until 2017

The Grenada man accused of killing 36-year-old Linnea Veinotte in a fatal hit and run last December in the West Indies, may not go to trial until 2017.

On Dec. 6, 2015, Veinotte went for a run with her dog, Nico, and was not seen alive again by her family

Linnea Veinotte went missing on the morning of Dec. 6, 2015. Her body was discovered in a wooded area five days later. Police said she died of blunt force trauma. (Facebook)

The Grenada man accused of killing 36-year-old Linnea Veinotte in a fatal hit-and-run last December on the Caribbean island may not go to trial until 2017.  

"More than likely it would be in the latter part of 2017, as we do have a number of other defendants on remand before the accused who are awaiting trial," said Howard Pinnock, senior Crown counsel in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in a written statement in response to inquiries from CBC News.

Akim Frank is being held in jail in St. George's, the capital of Grenada, awaiting a status hearing in the courts in October.  

Akim Frank turned himself in to police in Grenada in connection with the disappearance and death of Linnea Veinotte, originally of New Brunswick. (Royal Grenada Police Force)
At that time, Frank, who has already pleaded not guilty to non-capital murder, may choose to change his plea. He could plead guilty to the charge or offer to plead to a lesser offence. 

If that happens, a date would then be set for sentencing. However, if Frank maintains he is not guilty, the matter will be set for trial. 

Currently, 12 witnesses, including three medical experts and four police officers, are expected to testify, according to Pinnock. 

Linnea Veinotte's body was discovered on a property near St. George's, Grenada, on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (MTV News Grenada/Facebook)
"In my experience a trial such as this would likely last, conservatively, anywhere between four to six weeks depending on the length of defence cross examination and any legal issues that may arise," he said.

Veinotte, who spent part of her childhood in New Denmark, N.B., had a PhD in genetics.

In the fall of 2015, she took a position in educational services at  St. George's University in Grenada. Her husband and two young sons moved with her. 

It's been 143 days now and life still isn't getting any easier.- Matt Veinotte, husband

On Sunday, Dec. 6, Veinotte went for a run with her dog, Nico, and was never seen alive again by her family. 

The injured dog was recovered and police found personal items of Veinotte's near what was believed to be the accident scene, leading them to believe she'd been moved.   

There was an island-wide search, by police and volunteers, that lasted several days, until Frank turned himself in and led police, on Friday, Dec. 11, to Veinotte's remains in a wooded area. 

Nico, Linnea Veinotte's dog, in a post-surgery photo. The dog was struck by a vehicle the morning Veinotte disappeared. (Facebook)
An autopsy determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the chest, but because of the body's advanced state of decomposition, experts were not able to say how long she had survived the initial collision. 

In Grenada, the charge of capital murder is reserved for the unlawful killing of a judicial, police or correctional officer, or the killing of any person during the course of a robbery, sexual offence, arson, drug offence, burglary or "contract" killing. 

All other unlawful killings are defined as non-capital.

The maximum penalty for capital murder is death. For non capital murder, it's life imprisonment.

Veinotte's husband, Matt, who still lives in Grenada, has maintained a Facebook page in his wife's memory.

"It's been 143 days now and life still isn't getting any easier," he wrote in his most recent entry on April 27.

"Everywhere I go I see children with their 'mommies,' and want that so bad for Lucas and Isaac."

About the Author

Rachel Cave is a CBC reporter based in Saint John, New Brunswick.