IT was a stunning end to a 36-year marriage: A husband bashed his wife at least 57 times in the head with a hammer, then calmly sat on the couch as she lay dying.
Now a Winnipeg jury must decide what possessed Miloslav Kapsik to commit such a horrific act.
Kapsik, 63, began his trial Tuesday by pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He is seeking to be found not criminally responsible on the grounds he was suffering from a major mental illness and couldn't control, or appreciate, his violent actions. If successful, he would not go to prison but would instead be placed under the care of medical officials to determine his fate.
Ludmila Kapsik, 59, was found dead inside the couple's Jefferson Avenue apartment in March 2010.
Crown attorney Jennifer Mann told jurors in her opening statement Kapsik committed a brutal, unprovoked attack against his wife. The couple had been watching a hockey game on television when Kapsik suddenly got up, grabbed a hammer from the storage room and began hitting the victim from behind.
"You'll hear him describe she was crawling away during this attack and he hit her many times," Mann said of a police interview Kapsik later gave.
After she was dead, Kapsik cleaned the blood off his hands and face, changed his clothes and sat on the couch for nearly an hour before calling 911 to report "I hurt my wife, send the police."
Mann said Kapsik appeared to be "calm, responsive to questions and coherent" throughout his dealings with police. She encouraged jurors to listen closely to evidence about his state of mind at the time of the incident. The Crown will also play a 911 recording of Kapsik's conversation with an emergency operator.
Kapsik sat stone-faced in the prisoner's box with his arms folded Tuesday as Mann went through the facts of the killing, which are not in dispute.
Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky is expected to call medical evidence about his client later in the trial, which is set to last four weeks.
The Kapsiks had moved to Canada from the Czech Republic and had no children, court was told. There was also no prior history of domestic violence.