Killing of Wolseley woman leaves stepson mourning a mom’s murder for a second time, court hears
Published Wednesday, December 4, 2019 7:37AM CST Last Updated Wednesday, December 4, 2019 4:04PM CST
WINNIPEG -- At the sentencing hearing for a Wolseley woman’s killer, the victim’s stepson told a Winnipeg court it’s the second time he’s lost a mom to murder.
Judy Kenny, 54, was found dead in the kitchen of her Camden Place home in the early morning hours of April 10, 2017. In June, a jury found her neighbour, Brenda Schuff, 46, guilty of second-degree murder.
“My dad called me, devastated and said, ‘It happened again,’” Marshall Kenny told court in a victim impact statement. “An angel has been taken from this earth and this has caused so much sadness to so many good people.”
Marshall told a packed courtroom, filled with friends and family of both Judy and Schuff, that his birth mother was killed in August 1984.
He told court after his mom’s death, Judy came into his family’s life.
“She was a warm and caring person who helped fill a void in our lives,” said Kenny. “The violent details of Judy’s horrific death will remain with us forever.”
Court has previously heard Kenny was beaten, stomped, and stabbed 23 times.
The two women were not previously known to each other and only met hours before Judy’s death, when Schuff went outside to help Judy look for a missing dog. They returned to Judy’s home for a drink and talked before she was found dead.
Schuff could be seen seated in the prisoner’s box with her head hung as victim impact statements were read aloud in court — one by Marshall. The Crown read three others in court written by Judy’s sister and two friends.
CROWN SEEKING NO PAROLE FOR 17 YEARS FOR ‘BRUTAL ATTACK’
Second-degree murder comes with a mandatory sentence of life in prison, leaving a judge to determine when Schuff will become eligible for parole. The period of parole ineligibility for second-degree murder is between 10 and 25 years.
Crown attorney Debbie Buors told court Schuff should not become eligible for parole until serving at least 17 years of her life sentence.
“This is a brutal attack,” Buors told court. “It was significant violence.
“Ms. Schuff had one clear intent and that was to kill Ms. Kenny.”
Buors told court Schuff had no previous criminal record, no known history of violence and was of previous good character. She noted a pre-sentence report found a history of family violence during Schuff’s childhood that Buors suggested may have led to “learned behaviours of violence.” But she argued all factors have to be balanced with what happened to Judy.
“It isn’t out of character for [Schuff] because she did it,” Buors told court. “We have to look at what she did. She is capable of violence.
“We have no explanation. We don’t know what her trigger point was.”
The defence argued Schuff should become eligible for parole after 10 years.
Schuff’s lawyer Matt Gould argued Schuff’s actions were a response to something Judy did to Schuff. Given the verdict of second-degree murder, the jury didn’t buy that argument at trial, but Gould asked Court of Queen’s Justice Richard Saull to consider that Schuff used excessive self-defence while determining her sentence.
“There was action taken against Ms. Schuff by Ms. Kenny,” Gould told court.
‘SEXUAL COMPONENT’ TO MURDER, CROWN ARGUES
Court heard Judy was found nude from the waist up.
Buors argued that shows there may have been a sexual component to the murder.
“I would submit to the court there’s evidence that is troubling about the state of undress of Ms. Kenny,” Buors told court.
Schuff’s lawyer dismissed the argument.
“In terms of the shirt being taken off — I don’t agree with that terminology,” Gould told court. “Our position is the shirt came off during the struggle.”
The sentencing hearing is expected to continue on Dec. 30.