A Winnipeg woman claims she has been wrongfully convicted of her role in the murder-for-hire of former pro wrestler Ivan Radocaj.
Rita Cushnie was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury last year. She returned to court this week, asking the Manitoba Court of Appeal to overturn the verdict and order a new trial.
The high court has reserved its decision. Four other accused were implicated in the plot: Melody Sanford, the victim's wife, and Donald Richard -- Cushnie's son -- were also convicted of first-degree murder and given life sentences with no chance of parole for at least 25 years. They were also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. Christopher Houle pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and were given life with no chance of parole for at least a decade.
Radocaj, 43, was beaten to death in his Interlake home in September 2007. He filed documents in August 2007 claiming Sanford "tricked" him into a fraudulent wedding weeks earlier because she was after his money, including a $49,000 Manitoba Public Insurance settlement relating to a car crash in which he broke his neck. He also claimed Sanford vowed to send Winnipeg gang members after him following their bitter breakup.