Melissa Sheridan is no longer charged with the murder of her ex-husband Brent Burke.
The Crown on Tuesday dropped the first degree murder charge against Melissa Sheridan for the murder of her ex-husband Brant Burke.
On October 25, 2020, the body of Brant Burke was found in a woodlot in Point Grondine Park, Wiikwemkoong Indigenous Territory. Brant Burke was Mrs. Sheridan's husband and Kerry Burke's brother.
During her own court appearance in May, Kerry Burke confessed to killing her brother, but also implicated Ms Sheridan in the case.
Preliminary hearings in Ms. Sheridan's trial therefore opened on Tuesday morning with Kerry Burke as a witness. Following Mr. Burke's examination and cross-examination, the Crown decided to drop the charge against Melissa Sheridan.
L Ms. Sheridan's lawyer, Michael Lacy, welcomed the outcome.
Kerry Burke falsely implicated Melissa in the murder in an attempt to deflect blame and responsibility for the cowardly act of killing her brother, he said in a statement Wednesday.
< p class="e-p">He lied to the police about his involvement in the murder, he lied to his family and friends, then when it became clear that the police were going to find the truth, he invented this story to explain the inexplicable, he adds.
My client waited 18 long months to be cleared. She was presumed guilty by the public and attacked in the media. I hope that the truth will be revealed when these accusations are withdrawn.
Information in this section of the text could shock.
During his interrogation by Crown counsel, Kerry Burke recounted how he killed his brother Brant, during a hunting party during the fall of 2020.
He says he killed him with two rifle shots in the back when Brant walked away from him during their hunting party.
Kerry Burke justified his action by claiming that Melissa Sheridan had arranged to meet him to offer to get rid of Brant in exchange for $10,000 and his share in a cabin that the two brothers owned.
The courthouse in Sudbury
Mr. Burke maintains that greed and alcohol made him accept this offer.
He claims that after their initial meeting, he had no contact with Melissa Sheridan until the day of the murder. He alleges, however, that she sent him the murder weapon by placing it in his truck while he was in town, without speaking to him or mentioning it before the time of the murder.
Defence attorney Michael Lacy worked to undermine the credibility of this testimony during cross-examination of Kerry Burke.
He notably questioned the allegation that Kerry Burke returned the murder weapon to Ms. Sheridan after the fact.
A gun similar to the one Kerry Burke used to kill her brother was found by divers in the Wahnapitae River, near a bridge in the path Kerry Burke took after committing his crime, noted Mr. Lacy.
Mr. Burke repeatedly referred to his drinking during the murder and the days following to explain the difficulty he had remembering the precise chronology of events.
Shortly after these questions, the court took a break for mealtime.
It was when the hearings reopened mid-afternoon that the Crown announced it was withdrawing its charges against Ms Sheridan, saying she was unlikely to face a conviction.
In a press release, Me Lacy protested against the choice of the police to believe Mr. Burke's allegations.
The fact that the police were tricked by [Kerry Burke] into arresting my client, charging her with murder and sending her to jail until that we obtained his parole is inexplicable, he laments in a press release on Wednesday.
Any objective analysis of these allegations should have led the police to come to the same conclusion as the Crown yesterday, he adds.
Kerry Burke is expected to receive his sentence this fall, following the production of a Gladue report that guides Aboriginal sentencing.
His next court appearance is scheduled for October 26 at the Sudbury courthouse.