Defence lawyers for a Wolseley woman accused of killing a neighbour she had never met before argued Monday morning their client was “faced with death and chose to fight” and should be found not guilty.

Brenda Schuff has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in 54-year-old Judy Kenny’s death. Kenny was found dead in the kitchen of her Camden Place home just after 3 a.m. on April 10, 2017. Court has previously heard Kenny was beaten, stomped, and stabbed 23 times.

Defence lawyer Matt Gould told the jury in his closing arguments the only reasonable explanation for what happened in the early morning hours between the two women, who were not previously known to each other, is self-defence.

“You can get a response like that, 23 stabs, if someone is scared for their life and that person is defending herself which of course is our position,” Gould told jurors.

“The degree of how far this went reveals how significant it was, that someone had to do that because they were fighting for their life — that Ms. Schuff did that because she was fighting for her life.”

Court has previously heard the two women were having drinks together at Kenny’s home after midnight after Schuff had gone outside to help Kenny search for a friend’s dog Kenny thought was missing.

Gould asked jurors to accept Schuff’s testimony that after the two women spent about an hour and a half in Kenny’s home, Kenny clamped down on Schuff’s hand, started chomping her teeth at Schuff before Schuff noticed Kenny had a knife.

Gould asked jurors to consider Kenny’s blood alcohol concentration that night, which was four times the legal limit, mixed with the combination of three prescription medications she was on.

Schuff previously testified “everything flickered and went dark” after she punched Kenny two or three times.

Her lawyer told jurors if Schuff was lying about what happened that night she would’ve filled in the missing information.

“Brenda didn’t do that because she isn’t a liar, she’s not lying. She just can’t remember,” Gould told the jury. “The missing details do nothing but put Ms. Schuff at a disadvantage.”

Gould told jurors Schuff’s response to Kenny’s attack occurred over a six-minute span based on testimony given by Schuff, an exchange student living in Kenny’s home and a mentor to the exchange student who called 911 on behalf of the student. 

Prosecutors argued there was a prolonged beating and struggle and that Schuff, in her testimony, reversed “who was the attacker and who was the person being attacked.”

“This wasn’t an issue of self-defence,” Crown attorney Debbie Buors told jurors. “This was Brenda Schuff attacking Judy Kenny.”

Buors told court the combination of stab wounds and injuries on Kenny’s body and Schuff’s actions that night suggest Schuff intended to kill Kenny.

“What you need to know is that Ms. Schuff intended to cause the death of Ms. Kenny and did so through multiple stab wounds inflicted by a large kitchen knife which makes her guilty of second-degree murder,” Buors told court. 

Buors told jurors Schuff’s testimony is not believable because she can’t remember key pieces of what happened that night.

“This is just a convenient way to cover up what she’s done to Judy Kenny because she can’t explain the amount of violence, because she can’t explain the absence of injuries to her, she can’t explain why she stabbed her this many times,” Buors argued in court.

Buors told jurors it hasn’t been confirmed why this happened but added the Crown isn’t required to prove motive.

Buors told jurors Kenny may have been the victim of a sexual assault because she was found without a shirt on and her pants were on backwards. 

“I would suggest to you that her manner of dress, or undress – the state of undress, is a good indication of what the motive is behind this incident,” Buors told the jury.

“Put them both together and that says the motive is a sexual assault.”

Gould told the jury that accusation is baseless and doesn’t make any sense.

“What’s the evidence of that? What supports that suggestion?” Gould said to the jury.

Jurors are expected to receive legal instructions from Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Saull Tuesday morning before they begin their deliberations.