Killer timed wife’s mur­der, Crown says

The Prince George Citizen - - News - Camille BAINS

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.

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