The trial of a Yukon woman accused of murdering 63-year-old Gordon Seybold begins this week in Whitehorse.
Christina Marie Asp, 34, was one of two people charged with first-degree murder after Seybold’s remains were found in the ashes of his torched Ibex Valley home in March 2008.
Norman Eli Larue, 29, is also charged with first-degree murder as well as arson.
Asp and Larue were arrested in Strathmore, Alta., in 2009.
The pair were originally scheduled to stand trial together. But those proceedings were compromised early in 2010 after the Yukon’s legal aid service realized it couldn’t afford to give the two a fair trial.
Because the crown’s case largely rests on evidence and testimony from undercover police officers, legal aid needed to seek the expertise of Outside lawyers.
The cost to retain these lawyers is expected to top $100,000 per lawyer. That’s at least one-fifth of legal aid’s budget for criminal trials for a year. The bulk of legal aid’s budget is spent on criminal matters.
After much delay and an extensive preliminary hearing, it was decided last January that the two would be tried separately.
Jury selection for Asp’s trial started in Whitehorse on Monday. The trial is expected to last for more than a month.
Larue’s trial is scheduled for later this year. He has also elected to be tried by judge and jury.
Requests from his lawyer for a publication ban on Asp’s trial was turned down by Yukon Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower last week.
Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at firstname.lastname@example.org