Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Life for man who killed pregnant girlfriend, burned body


Crystal Louise (Louis) Mcfadyen was a critical thinker who always stood up for the underdog.

She loved dogs. She rescued them, and was the kind of person who sent someone flowers when their dog died. She was friendly and social. She loved to travel and couldn't wait to be a mom.

Mcfadyen was 37 years old and eight months pregnant when the father of her unborn daughter murdered them, left their bodies in a house for two days and attempted to cover up the crime, a Saskatoon

Queen's Bench courtroom heard on Monday.

Jonathan Alexander Rosenthal, 41, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonme­nt with no parole eligibilit­y for 15 years after Justice Gerald Allbright accepted a joint submission from the Crown and defence. Parole ineligibil­ity for second-degree murder falls between 10 and 25 years.

Court heard Mcfadyen's family reported her missing on July 5, 2018, after not hearing from her for two days. They initially thought she died in a house fire when her body was found the next day in her

Caswell neighbourh­ood home.

In fact, Rosenthal had slashed her neck before setting the house on fire. An autopsy revealed she had died from excessive blood loss, 24 hours before the fire.

Rosenthal had been controllin­g and isolating Mcfadyen — a family-oriented and independen­t woman — ever since they met, her friends and family told court.


“It is very difficult for us to believe that she became the victim of an abusive, violent death,” said her mother, Louise Louis.

It wasn't until Saskatoon police laid out the overwhelmi­ng evidence against Rosenthal that he confessed to killing Mcfadyen, Crown prosecutor Carla Dewar told court.

Rosenthal was married but had been in a relationsh­ip with Mcfadyen, who was recently divorced, for a year. He told investigat­ors they got into a fight on the morning of July 3, 2018, and that he “went red” after Mcfadyen allegedly told him the child wasn't his.

“Do we have any independen­t evidence that that's the case? Absolutely not,” Dewar said outside court, suggesting instead that control may have been a motive.

Rosenthal told police he only remembers standing above Mcfadyen and “there was blood everywhere and she wasn't breathing.” He said he doesn't remember anything over the next two days.

Later, he said he recalled seeing a knife on the table, which he threw away with her purse. He said he lit the house on fire to destroy evidence of what he had done.

Court heard he has tried to recall the memories from that day, but cannot. His lawyer, Carson Demmans, said the memory gap could be related to his methamphet­amine use, or a result of post-traumatic stress disorder.

But Dewar said Rosenthal did everything he could to cover up the murder.


After he murdered Mcfadyen and their unborn baby, Rosenthal sent text messages from Mcfadyen's phone to her family, pretending to be her and claiming that she was fine.

He took her car, her dog and her bank card, and “essentiall­y empties her life of her things as she's laying dead on the floor of her home,” Dewar said.

When he realized the jig was up, he decided to douse her in gas and light it, she added.

Rosenthal initially told police he threw Molotov cocktails through Mcfadyen's window because she asked him to burn her house so her ex couldn't have it. He claimed he didn't know she was inside.

When asked about blood on his shoes, Rosenthal said he was a butcher. Court heard it was Mcfadyen's blood.

He was charged with second-degree murder on Nov. 14, 2018.


Rosenthal had been living a double life.

During the week, he lived with his wife and kids. On the weekends, he stayed with Mcfadyen.

He told his wife he had to take care of Mcfadyen because they were going to get the child and raise it as their own while she started a new life, court heard.

Mcfadyen's family and friends said she was “very happy” about the pregnancy and thought she was moving to Lloydminst­er, where Rosenthal told her he was working during the week. He said he'd bought a house, booked a moving truck and that his coworkers' wives were even throwing her a baby shower.

It was all a lie.


Rosenthal chose not to speak in court before he was sentenced.

Mcfadyen's father, Myron Louis, said Rosenthal took advantage of his daughter while she was vulnerable after her divorce.

“She started believing things that she would never have believed before. I don't think anybody does know how that happens: When strong people all of a sudden become weak.”

In court, Louise Louis spoke about the granddaugh­ter she never got to meet. She said she considers her a person, even if the legal system does not.

Mcfadyen's friends said she would have been an amazing mom.

Court heard she moved from Camrose, Alta., to Saskatoon to get her English degree at the University of Saskatchew­an. She worked for BHP, was an active fundraiser and played in the North Saskatchew­an Regiment Pipes and Drums.

“Crystal will not be remembered by the way she died,” Myron added.

“She will be remembered by the way she lived.”

 ??  ?? Crystal Louise Mcfadyen, 37, was eight months pregnant when she was killed. Jonathan Rosenthal tried to cover the crime with arson.
Crystal Louise Mcfadyen, 37, was eight months pregnant when she was killed. Jonathan Rosenthal tried to cover the crime with arson.
 ??  ?? Jonathan Rosenthal
Jonathan Rosenthal

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