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Defence closes argument in case of man who killed wife with hammer

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A Winnipeg man who claims he was mentally ill at the time he brutally killed his wife of 36 years will not testify at his trial.

Miloslav Kapsik, 63, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder for the March 2010 slaying of his wife, Ludmila, 59. Kapsik wants to be found not criminally responsible. If successful, he would not go to prison, but would instead be placed under the care of medical officials.

Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky began calling evidence last week, then closed his case Monday afternoon without putting Kapsik on the stand. Jurors were previously told the accused has no obligation to give evidence and nothing should be made of whether he testifies or not.

The trial has now been adjourned until March 11 for closing arguments. Jury deliberations are then expected to begin immediately.

A medical expert previously told jurors that Kapsik suffered from "major depression and psychotic features" at the time of the attack. Dr. Giovana Levin, a forensic psychiatrist at Health Sciences Centre, spent months working closely with Kapsik following his arrest. She said he was wrestling with sleep deprivation, suicidal thoughts and he was hearing voices. Kapsik said he began hearing "mumbling" in his head in early 2009 and considered ending his own life. He bought a rope and planned to hang himself, but changed his mind, jurors were told.

Medical records showed Kapsik was first diagnosed with severe depression in 2003. He gave up his job as a bus driver because he was unable to cope, said Levin.

The Crown is challenging Kapsik’s claim of mental illness, saying he knew what he was doing, even if there is no apparent motive for smashing Ludmila at least 57 times with the weapon. Prosecutor Jennifer Mann has urged jurors to pay attention to the way Kapsik acted after his arrest, describing him as "calm, responsive to questions and coherent" in his dealings with police.

A videotaped police interview was shown to jurors last week, in which Kapsik repeatedly declined to speak about what happened. Two homicide investigators spent hours grilling him, questioning whether Ludmila had said or done something to provoke him. They also wondered how Kapsik could be so calm considering the brutality of the killing and the fact he admitted to spending more than an hour on the couch as his wife lay dying before he called 911.

Ludmila was attacked inside their Jefferson Avenue apartment. Kapsik said the couple was watching TV when he got up, grabbed a hammer and began hitting his wife from behind. The Kapsiks moved to Canada from the Czech Republic and had no children.

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