Judge charging jury in case of teen found stuffed in burned-out suitcase

TORONTO -- A Toronto judge is charging the jury in the 21-year-old case of a teenager found stuffed in a burned-out suitcase.

See Full Article

Apart from the standard instructions to jurors, the judge has been outlining evidence of the horrific abuse Melonie Biddersingh suffered before she died.

Her father, Everton Biddersingh, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in her death in September 1994.

Superior Court Justice Al O'Marra noted a central issue is the credibility of two key witnesses: the teen's older brother and her stepmother.

The brother, Cleon Biddersingh, testified how the accused would kick and stomp the victim, starve her, and flush her head in the toilet.

He also testified Elaine Biddersingh was the "mastermind" in the family who believed her 17-year-old stepdaughter was possessed by the devil.

"She began to lose weight. He could see her bones and ribs," O'Marra said in recounting the sibling's testimony."

"Elaine would call Melonie the devil and say she was evil and wicked."

Charges including aggravated assault and criminal negligence were stayed against Cleon Biddersingh, who also testified his sister was weak, incontinent, in pain, and suicidal.

He also said he sometimes hit his sister at the urging of his father, but never to hurt her.

O'Marra noted several apparent inconsistencies in the brother's testimony, saying it was up to them to decide what to believe.

In closing arguments Tuesday, defence lawyer Jennifer Penman urged jurors to acquit Everton Biddersingh, 60, of deliberately killing his daughter, saying the evidence instead points to his wife as the culprit.

Elaine Biddersingh faces her own first-degree murder trial this spring.

Penman portrayed Elaine Biddersingh as an evil, demon-obsessed religious fanatic and the likely killer.

The Biddersinghs were arrested in March 2012 after a tip that finally allowed them to identify the victim's remains and lay charges.

It's not certain how the teen died, but it appears she either starved to death or drowned. The defence maintains the latter.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Finnish police: Stabbing investigated as possible terrorism

    World News CTV News
    HELSINKI -- A suspect detained for allegedly stabbing two people to death in a knife attack in the western Finnish city of Turku is being investigated for murder with possible terrorist intent, police said Saturday. Source
  • Hundreds missing in Sierra Leone mudslides likely dead

    World News CTV News
    FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - Survivors picking through the debris of Sierra Leone's deadly mudslides are facing the reality that most, if not all, of the estimated 600 people missing are dead. The death toll is already above 450 from the flooding and mudslides in the capital, Freetown, early Monday. Source
  • 7 wounded in Siberia stabbing attack

    World News CBC News
    A knife-wielding man went on a stabbing rampage in a Siberian city on Saturday, wounding seven people before police shot and killed him. A statement from Russia's Investigative Committee said the mid-day attack on a central street in Surgut said the suspect had been identified as a local resident in his early 20s. Source
  • Police separate some 500 neo-Nazis, opponents at Berlin demo

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN - Some 500 far-right extremists are staging a march in Berlin in honour of the 30th anniversary of the death of top Nazi Rudolf Hess. About 500 counter-demonstrators gathered nearby the Saturday parade in the Spandau district, separated by hundreds of heavily armoured police. Source
  • Boston, cradle of U.S. liberty, braces for spirited protests

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON - Conservative activists and leftist counterprotesters are preparing for a showdown on Boston Common that could draw thousands a week after a demonstration in Virginia turned deadly. Police say they'll be out in force to keep the two groups apart. Source
  • Spain, France press manhunt for ringleader in dual attacks

    World News CTV News
    BARCELONA, Spain -- Authorities in Spain and France pressed the search Saturday for the supposed ringleader of an Islamic extremist cell that carried out vehicle attacks in Barcelona and a seaside resort, as the investigation focused on links among the Moroccan members and the house where they plotted the carnage. Source
  • Finland stabbing suspect an 18-year-old Moroccan citizen, attack stabbing investigated as possible terrorism

    World News CBC News
    A suspect detained for allegedly stabbing two people to death in a knife attack in the western Finnish city of Turku is being investigated for murder with possible terrorist intent, police said Saturday. The dead from the apparent indiscriminate attack on Friday are Finnish citizens, while the eight wounded include one Italian national and two Swedes, the National Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. Source
  • 'We think the attacker was going after women:' Asylum-seeker in Finland under police guard after stabbing

    World News CBC News
    A suspect detained for allegedly stabbing two people to death in a knife attack in the western Finnish city of Turku is being investigated for murder with possible terrorist intent, police said Saturday. The dead from the apparent indiscriminate attack on Friday are Finnish citizens, while the eight wounded include one Italian national and two Swedes, the National Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. Source
  • Nigeria says ailing president to return today after 3 months

    World News CBC News
    Nigeria's government says President Muhammadu Buhari will return to the country today after more than three months in London for medical treatment. A statement Saturday from the office of the presidency says Buhari will address the nation in a broadcast Monday morning. Source
  • 'It was a bad day': Canadian POWs recall disastrous Dieppe raid 75 years later

    Canada News CBC News
    At the age of 21, Paul Delorme was a Canadian soldier like most others — until the day he found himself in a rank never now assigned to Canadian soldiers: prisoner of war. Source