Accused in lesbian axe-murder is acquitted


A few weeks ago I posted an article about this, weeks later one of the accused is set free after being detained for 2.7 years..ouch. But hey, don’t hang around people with axes and police won’t think you’re nuts or guilty.


Jun 04, 2009 05:20 PM

Courts Bureau

Minutes after a jury found her not guilty today of murdering her lesbian lover’s boyfriend with an axe, Ashleigh Pechaluk basked in the afternoon sun outside Superior Courthouse in a tearful reunion with her mom.

“I haven’t touched her in two years and seven months,”said Beverley Salton, her arm wrapped around her daughter with her hand stroking the back of her head.

Pechaluk, 24, could have been sent to prison for life if the jury found her guilty of first-degree murder for killing Dennis Hoy, 36, a GO Transit constable, on Oct. 27, 2006.

After two months of hearing evidence, the jury retired Monday afternoon. They returned the following day to ask two questions and to request large excerpts of testimony from key witnesses be read back to them.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, the jury informed Justice Mary Lou Benotto it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Benotto asked them to try again to reach a “common conclusion.” They returned today just after 4 p.m.

Pechaluk, a petite woman with short brown hair, said the uncertainty in the last 24 hours was overwhelming.

“Wow, it’s hard to explain, you can’t eat, it’s worse because there’s no schedule, you don’t know when anything’s going to happen, extremely difficult.”

Conversations in the cells at 361 University Avenue courthouse with her lawyers, Peter Zaduk and Kristine Connidis, “got me through,” she said.

Pechaluk said she was always optimistic the jury would believe her “but there’s always that little bit of doubt, that nagging, but I always knew it was going to be okay.”

During the trial, Pechaluk testified she was asleep in an Etobicoke apartment when her lover, Nicola Puddicombe, awakened her shortly after midnight by banging on her door.

Pechaluk is accused of joining with Puddicombe in murdering Hoy, 36, with an axe as he slept naked in the latter’s bed.

“She said that Dennis is dead, ” Pechaluk testified last month. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

Two hours before that, she said, she had refused Puddicombe’s demand that she bash in Hoy’s head as he slept.

The first-degree murder trial for Puddicombe, 36, was scheduled to begin on Monday.

Pechaluk who has been in custody since the night of the slaying, was released from custody and planned to have seafood tonight.

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