KELOWNA, B.C. — A Penticton, B.C., woman has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her great-grandson’s mother.
A B.C. Supreme Court jury in Kelowna returned with a guilty verdict for 67-year-old Grace Robotti on Thursday night after deliberating for 12 hours.
Robotti was charged in the death of 26-year-old Roxanne Louie, a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
The trial heard Robotti admit to killing Louie by hitting her in the head repeatedly with a crowbar, but she said it was self-defence and pleaded not guilty to murder.
The jury heard that on Jan. 4, 2015, Robotti and Louie got into a heated argument about the care of Louie’s three-year-old son.
Robotti’s lawyer, James Pennington, told the jury in his closing statement that the argument became physical when Louie threw a small crowbar in Robotti’s direction, hitting a wall about half a metre away.
Robotti testified earlier in the trial that she picked up the crowbar from the floor.
“I didn’t know if she was going to hit me or hit other things,” Robotti said of Louie during cross-examination last week.
But Crown lawyer Mallory Treddenick told the jury that Robotti’s actions showed she did intend to kill Louie that night.
The trial heard that Robotti ended up on top of Louie, straddling her on the floor, and hit her over the head with the crowbar about two dozen times. Louie died a short while later.
Treddenick said if Robotti had intended to control the woman as she claimed she could have hit her somewhere other than her head.
“The target speaks volumes about Ms. Robotti’s criminal intention,” the prosecutor told the jury.
The jury heard that Robotti then told her brother Pier Robotti to get rid of the body, which he dumped in a wooded area near Naramata.
Both were arrested days after the death, when they turned themselves in to the Penticton RCMP detachment.
In March, Pier Robotti pleaded guilty to interference with a dead body, while charges of second-degree murder were dropped by the Crown. He is expected to appear in court Monday for sentencing.
Details of his court process were placed under a publication ban while his sister’s jury trial was underway.
Grace Robotti, who is currently out on bail, is scheduled to return to court on April 18 for sentencing.
(Kelowna Daily Courier)
Andrea Peacock, Kelowna Daily Courier, The Canadian Press
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