Army vet found guilty in murder of make-up artist Pina Rizzi
Published Friday, June 16, 2017 10:50AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 16, 2017 6:24PM EDT
The army veteran accused of the murder of a make-up artist in Montreal has been found guilty.
The jury came down with the verdict Friday morning at the Montreal courthouse, convicting Jean-Philippe Tremblay of first-degree murder after two days of deliberations.
The 28-year-old has been sentenced to life imprisonment for beating and killing Pina Rizzi, 47, in August 2009 following a three-week trial.
The woman’s body was found burned and wrapped in a carpet in a shed behind an auto repair shop in Montreal, and the case remained unsolved for several years until Tremblay was arrested in 2013.
During trial, the jury watched the defendant’s videotaped police interrogation, during which Tremblay confessed to the crime. They were also presented with a report indicating Tremblay's DNA and fingerprints were found at the crime scene, but couldn’t be matched until 2013, when he was arrested by police for an unrelated offence.
In closing arguments, the Crown pointed out that Rizzi tried to get away from Tremblay, but was spotted on surveillance video being dragged back into the shed where her body was later discovered.
Evidence also indicated that Tremblay sexually assaulted Rizzi, forcibly confined her, and struck her with a brick.
Rizzi's family was ecstatic with the verdict, saying that though it took a long time to reach a verdict, they were pleased justice had been served.
In a rare move, Justice Sophie Bourque allowed the victim's sister to address the jury.
"I thanked them several times for rendering justice for my sister Pina, and I wanted to let the accused, Jean-Philippe Tremblay, know the price that this has caused, the price that my family has paid as a result of his act," said Mary Rizzi.
She explained that her brother, Tony, was terribly shocked by Pina's death.
"He never really recovered after my sister's death and in 2014 he died of a heart attack," said Mary.
The defence argued that while Tremblay admitted to killing Rizzi he said the death was accidental, and that Rizzi attacked Tremblay first. His lawyer was seeking a conviction of second-degree murder or of manslaughter.
Tremblay remained motionless in the prisoner’s box and stared at the jury of five men and six women as the verdict was heard.
Factoring in time already served, Tremblay will have to wait 21 years before he can apply for parole.