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Accused killer at Ajax triple murder trial argues he 'had no brain' during slayings

Cory Fenn, who is on trial for the deaths of a woman and her two children in Ajax, said he "didn't have a brain" at the time of the killings.

Cory Fenn and his former lawyer both offered closing statements at his trial Monday

Cory Fenn defends himself from the prisoner’s box before Justice Howard Leibovich at the Oshawa courthouse on Sept. 23, 2021. Closing statements at the trial wrapped up Monday. (Pam Davies/CBC)

Accused killer Cory Fenn, who is standing trial for the deaths of a woman and her two children in Ajax, says he "didn't have a brain" at the time of the slayings.

Court heard Fenn's submissions for the first time Monday. He argued he has become a new man since his incarceration. 

Fenn argued he could not be guilty of murder as he was not mentally present at the time of the killings in 2018.

"I'm innocent, a free man. I had no brain," he said.

"It was like the Wizard of Oz when they're going down the golden path. If I only had a brain — I didn't have one."

Fenn, 33, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Krassimira Pejcinovski, 39, her 13-year-old daughter, Venellia, and her 15-year-old son, Roy. He is acting as his own defence, and declined to testify in court previously when given the opportunity.

The mother and daughter were found stabbed to death while the son died as a result of strangulation at their Ajax, Ont., home on March 14, 2018.

Dr. Philip Klassen told the court he believes Fenn was 'intellectually and cognitively intact,' at the time of the killings. (Cory Mase/Facebook)

Fenn has not called any witnesses or cross-examined anyone who testified in court. He has repeatedly requested a name change in court, emphasizing that he is a new person.

"That's why I articulated to you of my name change ... I'm a king now, I'm a sovereign, I bleed blue now, I'm royal blood," he said.

Charges should be downgraded to manslaughter: Former attorney

Fenn's former lawyer, Mary Cremer, also gave her closing statements at the judge-alone trial in Superior Court Monday. Fenn fired her in September, but she has remained on the trial to assist him at the behest of the judge.

She said Fenn had killed the three family members, but argued he was not in stable state of mind to intentionally commit murder.

Cremer said substance abuse was a "major driving force" in the killings but said there was a lack of evidence to prove Fenn's motive to kill — arguing the charges should be downgraded to manslaughter.

She asked Justice Howard Leibovich to consider how intoxicated Fenn was at the time of the killings. Fenn told police he was in a state of "cocaine psychosis" and could only recall "bits and pieces" of what had happened, however no evidence presented before court has supported that.

"The sole issue before this court really is did Mr. Fenn have the requisite intent, the requisite state of mind for murder," Cremer said, arguing the case presented by the Crown fails to prove intent to kill. 

"At a minimum, your honour should not find Mr.Fenn guilty of second-degree murder," Cremer said. "All the evidence points to three counts of very tragic manslaughter."

In closing submissions last week, the Crown argued Fenn knew exactly what he was doing when he carried out the killings. Crown attorney Mike Newell said "the sheer brutality" observed in the condition of the bodies and the injuries inflicted to the victims showed Fenn's intent to kill.

Newell said Pejcinovski went to talk to Fenn the night of March 14 to break up with him after her oldest daughter, Victoria, found drugs in the basement apartment of their home where he lived.

Crown attorney Mike Newell said Cory Fenn and Krassimira Pejcinovski's 'on-again-off-again' relationship was volatile and toxic, and the addition of drugs resulted in Fenn's rage. (Facebook)

Newell said Fenn, who admitted to the killings in an interview with Durham Police homicide Det. Mark Pillman the day after they happened, was "demonstrably aware" of his surroundings and remembered what he had done that day.

In the video, Fenn appears to be going through physical symptoms of cocaine withdrawal in which he expresses wanting to sleep and being tired, Cremer said.

She argued Fenn appeared to be "in the throes of drug withdrawal," shown by his "desperate need to sleep," and asked the judge to consider this in his decision.

Cremer said the video showed a "complete understanding" from Fenn that he will face some sort of penalty, arguing that this supports evidence he was going through physical symptoms of withdrawal at the time.

"His overall demeanour with Pillman is resignation and horrific disgust within himself," Cremer said.

"He said 'I caused this,' and called himself a monster. He's accepted responsibility from the beginning."

Fenn, who has been mostly quiet during the trial, was slouched in the prisoner's box Monday, and at one point lying down on the seat with his feet up on the glass for several minutes. 

He has previously expressed his disapproval in having his former attorney remain to assist him and would shake his head, loudly interrupting Cremer several times to object to her statements.

"It's a conflict of interest, she's my ex lawyer. I fired her, I don't know why she's here," Fenn said Monday.

Leibovich is expected to give his decision on Jan. 21.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Jabakhanji

Reporter-Editor

Sara Jabakhanji is a general assignment reporter with CBC News in Toronto. You can reach her at sara.jabakhanji@cbc.ca.

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