Woman who killed husband in North Delta convicted of manslaughter
A deadly cocktail of fear, panic and intoxication all helped fuel the fatal stabbing of Quannah O'Soup in North Delta four years ago, a judge has found.
Justice Trevor Armstrong found Beatrice Thomas, 38, guilty of manslaughter on Friday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, after ruling out self-defence and murder.
In the early morning of July 3, 2011, Thomas and her common-law husband O'Soup were drinking and smoking crack cocaine in her North Delta rental home near 115 Street and 80 Avenue with friends, when O'Soup charged into the living room to turn up the music.
Thomas went to stop him because her children were asleep.
Evidence of what occurred from there is foggy, the justice found, but O'Soup ended up with a stab wound to his left upper chest that punctured his lung and heart, killing him almost instantly.
Thomas was originally charged with second-degree murder but was convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Crown counsel alleged Thomas knew what she was doing, and even took the time to take the knife out of the living room and motion to one of her friends to be quiet when police arrived.
Defence counsel argued much of the testimony was unreliable, and proposed that the stabbing was self-defence.
Justice Armstrong dismissed the idea Thomas was defending herself, but agreed some of the testimony seemed unreliable. In the end, he said, it was not entirely clear exactly what occurred in that living room.
He noted because O'Soup's body was found several feet from the stereo, it is quite likely the six-foot, 257-pound man who had a history of violence made a threatening motion to Thomas.
The intoxicants in her system weren't enough to completely cloud her judgment, Armstrong found, but the mixture of that, along with fear and panic, could have been powerful contributing factors.
"I have reasonable doubt that her state of mind was not such to convict her of second-degree murder," Armstrong said.
O'Soup's older brother Spencer said outside the courtroom that he holds no animosity toward Thomas.
"There are no winners or losers on both sides," Spencer said, adding the court decision will allow the family some closure so it can begin to heal emotionally and spiritually.
O'Soup is survived by five children who are now living with their mother and grandmother in Edmonton.
Thomas, who is not yet in custody, was reluctant to speak about her conviction, but said she was "relieved" to have it over.
"It is what it is, that's all," she said.
Her next court date is July 17 to fix a date for sentencing.