Joel Clow pleads guilty to manslaughter in 2015 death of girlfriend

Joel Clow has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2015 death of Traci Lynch. He had originally been convicted of murder, but that verdict was overturned on appeal and a new trial ordered.

Joel Clow was found not guilty of murder in today's hearing

Joel Lawrence Clow, after his arrest in July 2015 for the killing of Traci Lynch. (CBC)

Joel Clow has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Traci Lynch in 2015.

Clow's guilty plea Tuesday in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown marks a significant turn in the legal proceedings.

Clow had originally been convicted of murder and in 2017 he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.

That conviction was overturned on appeal in February 2019, and a new trial was ordered.

'Killing was not intentional'

Clow's guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter means there will be no new trial.

Joel Clow leaves court in this file photo from 2011. (CBC)

With the guilty plea to manslaughter, the judge ruled Clow not guilty of murder.

"Manslaughter means the killing was not intentional," said Crown prosecutor John Diamond outside the courtroom after Tuesday's proceedings.

Traci Lynch was originally from Pictou, N.S. Some of Lynch's relatives travelled from Nova Scotia to be in the courtroom Tuesday as Clow entered his guilty plea. Clow showed no emotion and spoke in a clear voice as he answered questions from Justice Terri MacPherson.

"Sure do," he said, when asked if he understood he would have no trial on the matter.

Family members of Joel Clow were in the courtroom as well.

Defence lawyer Kent Brown and Diamond told court they would prepare sentencing recommendations by the end of the week.

Justice MacPherson scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 17.

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With files from Brian Higgins