A Mississauga man was found guilty of deliberately blowing up his house to get back at his wife, a jury decided Thursday.
John Walkiewicz, 55, was found guilty of criminal negligence causing bodlily harm and arson endangering life in connection with the destruction of his south Mississauga residence Aug. 28, 2006.
Jurors reached the verdict after about five hours of deliberation in a Brampton courtroom.
A date for his sentencing must still be set because Walkiewicz fired his lawyer before jurors reached their verdict.
Prosecutor John Kingdon argued Walkiewicz blew up his home on Duchess Dr. because his ex-wife was forcing him out.
Jurors heard the home was filled with natural gas when the fumes ignited causing the blast.
Walkiewicz pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He and a passerby were seriously injured in the morning explosion that destroyed the home and extensively damaged adjacent residences.
Evidence presented by the Crown indicated a pipe wrench was found next to the furnace inside the home after the blast, suggesting it was used to loosen a joint on the furnace to let gas into the home.
One of the pipes was unscrewed.
Walkiewicz and his wife, Eva, separated and moved out with their two children in the late 1990s.
Neighbours testified he "hated his wife"
Walkiewicz was injured in a car accident, which forced him to stop working months prior to the explosion, court heard.
He had also threatened to commit suicide six months before the morning of the blast, a friend testified. .
Kingdon described Walkiewicz as a man pushed to the "brink of desperation," when he blew up his home.
Jurors heard there was a court order to sell his home and closing deal on the sale was to take place the day of the explosion.
Court heard how his ex-wife and daughter were coming to the home later that morning to pick up personal belongings.
Walkiewicz’s lawyer, Anil Kapoor, told jurors in his closing arguments Kingdom’s case was based on assumptions, speculation and coincidence.
He said it was a "tragedy" that Walkiewicz was charged with criminal offences.
Kapoor insisted there was no evidence that his client deliberately caused the explosion.
"He was looking forward to "starting a new life when suddenly, his world came crashing down on him," he told jurors.
Kingdon, however, said the timing of the explosion in relation to the sale of the home wasn’t an "absurd coincidence."
"Accidents can happen, but accidents do not happen on the very day the homeowner is being forced out of his house by his hated ex-wife," Kingdon told jurors.
Stephen Allen, 53, had just finished his morning jog and was walking by the home when he was hit by debris from the blast.
He needed more than 120 stitches to close wounds on his legs and face.