Calgarian found guilty of murdering girlfriend's preschool-aged daughter
CALGARY -- The 27-year-old Calgary man who beat his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter for interrupting his video game has been found guilty of second degree murder.
Friday morning, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Blair Nixon ruled Justin Bennett had the exclusive opportunity to kill Ivy Wick.
“We feel that this was the just verdict based on all of the evidence,” said Sue Kendall, chief crown prosecutor outside court after the ruling. “We’re hoping now that today’s decision will allow Ivy’s mother Helen (Wordsworth) and her family the ability for some closure and to move on from this horribly tragic event in their lives.”
Ivy suffered blunt force trauma injuries on September 27, 2017. She died in hospital eight days later.
“This was much more than a 'he said, she said' case. There was a significant amount of evidence given the excellent work by the Calgary Police Service to allow the judge to come to the just conclusion,” said Kendall.
Bennett was arrested and charged a year later following an undercover police sting, which generated key evidence submitted by the crown.
Undercover officers befriended Bennett into a fictitious criminal organization and convinced him they had access to a corrupt medical examiner who could make a fake report to clear his name. But he had to be truthful about what happened to Ivy.
In a videotaped conversation submitted as evidence at trial, Bennett told an undercover officer he snapped and beat Ivy while her mother was in the shower. He admitted he smashed Ivy in the head, threw her against the wall and tripped her.
“From the crown’s perspective, that was very important evidence that we've relied on heavily in our closing submissions…As I said, the Calgary Police Service just did an outstanding job with respect to collecting evidence in this case,” said Kendall.
Court heard Bennett initially told the 911 operator and police Ivy hit her head after she tripped and fell.
Bennett’s lawyer Allan Fay had argued the Mr. Big operation was flawed and the confession it produced unreliable. Fay said Bennett lied so he could continue to work for the organization.
“On a human level, I think the facts of any case involving the death of a child are very very challenging…For the community of Alberta it’s important that these cases are brought to a just conclusion as a result of that,” said Kendall.
A date for a sentencing hearing will be determined next month.
A second degree murder conviction carries a life sentence with no chance of parole between 10 and 25 years.