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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Saint John Woman Found Not Guilty

29 year old Crystal Dawn MacKenzie has been found not guilty for the second time in the stabbing death of her common law partner, 29 year old Patrick Thomas in March of 2010. She was retried for second degree murder in his death outside an apartment building on Alma Street after a night of heavy drinking and what was described as horrendous  violence. 

One of her lawyers, Brian Munro says the jury came to the right decision and he can't understand why a second trial was held considering the time and expense. 

Her other lawyer, David Kelly says even if she had been found guilty of manslaughter, which the jury decided she was not, what would a judge do with her since she is no threat to society. 

Both Kelly and Munro, say Mackenzie, though relieved by the verdict, was overcome by the stress  and had to go to the hospital. She became emotional after being told by Mr. Justice William Grant she was free to go and was embraced by members of her family.

Neither Kelly nor Munro believe there will be an appeal by the prosecution and a third trial.

Questions & An Impasse But Still Talking

The 12 jurors in the murder trial of Crystal Dawn Mackenzie requesting clarification on some of the judge's instructions....they asked whether the fact that Mackenzie was under the influence should be taken into account as they decide whether she reasonably believed killing Thomas was her only option. 

They also asked whether they were to decide what she reasonably believed, or what a reasonable person would believe.

The jury later informed the court they are at an impasse and were called in again before the judge.

Mr. Justice William Grant reminded them to carefully consider the opinions of their fellow jurors and to be guided entirely by the evidence and then  asked them to keep trying to reach a common conclusion.

Brunswick Square Sign Is Finished

Take a second look the next time you walk or drive by.

The new sign on Brunswick Square is complete.

One passer-by thinks it looks great.

Work began on the sign earlier today.

Chief of Police Indicates Snook Investigations Happening Elsewhere

With sex charges against disgraced former common councilor Donnie Snook popping up in Newfoundland & Labrador, many are left wondering about the possibility of investigations in other places. 

Police chief Bill Reid indicating they're happening elsewhere, but didn't elaborate, saying he's leaving that to investigators. He says we know there are other jurisdictions, but he'll let that stay with them until notifications are complete. 

Reid says if there are other issues they're aware of in other areas, they'll let the proper authorities know and give them their information on the case.

The Marigold Project Aims To Break A World Record

45 schools at 50 sites will be trying to break a world record tomorrow morning for the 16th annual Marigolds Project.

Pictures and video of the simultaneous flower planting will be taken and put on memory cards.

Organizer Barry Ogden says they have stewards,a sort of witness, who will record everything.

He says after that materials from every site will be taken to the North end McDonald's and an accounting firm will look at all of it and a videographer will put all the footage together in one video.

Ogden says they will get an unofficial count tomorrow but all the materials will be sent to London, England for official tabulation and they find out if they broke the record in a few months time.

Ogden tells us after years of inviting the Premier, David Alward has accepted the invitation and will be on hand tomorrow.

New Sign Goes Up On Brunswick Square

Workers put up a new sign on the Germain Street side of Brunswick Square.   


Two Men Face Charges In Main Street Fires

A 22 year old and a 29 year old have been picked up in connection with a series of fires at a vacant building earlier at 169 Main Street this year between January and March.

22 year old Jacob Jacquard was arrested in Yarmouth County. He has been remanded but will be coming back for a bail heaing on Monday morning. 

At this point Jacquard is charged with 1 count of arson dating back to January 11, but it looks likely that more charges will be laid.

The 29 year old man will appear in court on June 25th. 

He was originally arrested in connection with the arson case on April 29 in Saint John.

Sweet Success For Maple Syrup Producers

It's been a bumper year for the province's maple syrup producers.

The industry reported a record-breaking five million pounds of syrup produced in the province, which is one million pounds more than last year.

New Brunswick is the third largest maple syrup producer in the world, after Quebec and Vermont. Next fall, for the first time, New Brunswick will host The International Maple Syrup Institute and the North American Maple Syrup Council Conference.

Worst Roads In Maritimes Named

The results are in: four  New Brunswick roads have made the Top 10 Worst Roads ranking in a CAA poll.

Fredericton's Hanwell Road came in at number 2. New Brunswick 630 in Andersonville tied for third, and Rothesay Avenue ranked 7th.  Fredericton Road in Salisbury rounded off the list at number 10.

 CAA's Gary Howard tells CHSJ News damage can be done to cars when the roads are stripped for repaving, with cars being knocked out of alignment by raised manhole covers.

Over 4,000 votes were cast in the poll, which aims to highlight dangerous road conditions and make all levels of government aware of the problem areas in the region.

Jury Deliberating The Fate Of Saint John Woman For Murder

Jury deliberations are underway on the fate of 29 year old Crystal Dawn MacKenzie, who's being tried a second time for second degree murder in the death of her common law partner, 29 year old Patrick Thomas. He was stabbed to death outside their apartment building on Alma Street, off Waterloo in March of 2010. 

Mr. Justice William Grant, in his instructions to the jurors, told them MacKenzie was described as happy go lucky, nice and generous so they can infer such a person would be less prone to violence.

He says the jury will have to decide if MacKenzie was acting in self defense or trying to settle a score out of anger. The jurors will have to determine her state of mind after a night of heavy drinking and history of violence in their relationship. The judge has told the jury there was evidence Thomas assaulted her five different times on the night of the stabbing but did she have a safe means of escape which would include calling police. 

The jury has also been told it can find her guilty of manslaughter if it believes she was provoked and lost control.

Big Seniors Complex Gets Council's Early Approval

A new home, sweet home for seniors is another step closer to being built.

City council giving preliminary approval to zoning by-law amendments for a major campus-style living facility on Millidge Avenue from Shannex. President Jason Shannon saying they've identified Saint John as a city that needs more housing. Shannon says the complex will employ up to 150 staff and it's very similar to the one in Quispamsis.

Residents expressed environmental concerns at the meeting, and mayor Mel Norton says they're balancing between development and being sensitive to the ecosystem.

Donation Box Thief Turns Himself In

Remember the donation box that was stolen from a Hampton convenience store? 

A 32 year old Rothesay man has been arrested in connection with the theft.

Last Monday, Hampton RCMP got a complaint that a donation box for the IWK hospital was taken from Five Sons Video.

On Saturday a man turned himself in to the RCMP.    He's due in court in Saint John next month on charges of theft and breach of probation.

The Mounties want to thank the public for their help with this.

Jury Deliberations Expected This Afternoon

The second degree murder trial of 29 year old Crystal Dawn MacKenzie should go to the jury for deliberations early this afternoon.

Mr. Justice William Grant, in his instructions to the jurors, told them MacKenzie was described as happy go lucky, nice and generous so they can infer such a person would be less prone to violence. 

He also says they must determine if she reasonably feared death or serious injury at the hands of her common law partner Pat Thomas who was stabbed to death.

The judge pointed out there was evidence of a violent relationship and this may shed light on MacKenzie's state of mind on the night of the stabbing.

Police Chief Elaborates On Death of Woman At The Regional Hospital

The question of how 22-year-old Serena Perry died at the Regional Hospital is still left unanswered. 

Police chief Bill Reid saying the case is unusual, as anything they suspect could never be validated by forensic pathology which puts them at a disadvantage when trying to find the cause. 

Reid concedes it's disconcerting to think if the person they identified as a suspect did cause her death, it can't be proved. He says it would be a prosecutor's nightmare while a defense lawyer would be overjoyed because there would be a huge hole in the issue.

Reid tells CHSJ News he's written a letter to the chief coroner asking for an inquest into Perry's death because they need to find out what took place, ask questions about procedures and policies and come up with recommendations.

MacKenzie Trial Hears Closing Arguments

Closing statements were read in the second degree murder trial of 29-year-old Crystal Dawn MacKenzie, charged in the death of her common law partner, 29-year-old Patrick Thomas, who was stabbed on Alma Street in March of 2010. 

Defense lawyer David Kelly was first to address the jury.

He painted a picture of Thomas as an abusive alcoholic, calling him one of the meanest drunks he's seen in his career. He says that MacKenzie had the right to defend herself that night, and she did. Prosecutor Jill Knee addressing the courtoom saying this is not a case of self-defense, and that MacKenzie had other options available to save herself or anyone else that night; she didn't have to stab him.

Kelly says the knife used went in about four inches, which to him doesn't sound like someone who was intentionally trying to kill somebody. Knee telling the courtroom it doesn't matter how deep the stab wound was, because it was deep enough to kill Thomas. She says the butcher knife severed a vein and punctured a lung.