Killer timed wife’s murder, Crown says
VANCOUVER — Knowing his commonlaw wife would be alone for at least 20 minutes gave a man the opportunity to kill her, says a Crown counsel arguing against bail release for Wade Skiffington, who is serving a life sentence for the murder.
Hank Reiner told British Columbia Supreme Court that Skiffington shot Wanda Martin six times in a Richmond apartment after hearing that a friend she was visiting would be stepping out briefly on the afternoon of Sept. 6, 1994.
Skiffington was found guilty of seconddegree murder in 2001 based on a confession he provided to undercover police as part of a so-called Mr. Big operation that began five years after the murder.
The federal justice minister is reviewing his conviction after an appeal by defence lawyers with Innocence Canada, which works to exonerate people believed to have been wrongfully convicted.
Skiffington’s lawyers are challenging the credibility of the undercover sting, which they say extracted a false confession.
They want him released on bail while the review and a potential full investigation is underway, which could likely take years.
Tamara Duncan, a lawyer with Innocence Canada, said outside the court that Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has a number of options if she concludes a miscarriage of justice occurred, including ordering a new trial or sending the case to the B.C. Court of Appeal.
The court has heard Martin was shot while she was visiting a friend with the couple’s 18-month-old son, who was left with his mother’s body.
Reiner said Skiffington’s anger motivated him to kill Martin because he’d run into a man he believed was having an affair with her shortly before the murder.