August 19, 2019

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Accused neighbour-killer had bloody hands, police officer tells murder trial

Just moments after Winnipeg police patrol Sgt. Ari Mamott discovered a lifeless body on a Wolseley kitchen floor, naked from the waist up with a knife stuck in her eye socket, a woman with bloody hands approached him outside on the sidewalk.

"'I'm the one you are going to want to talk to about this,'" accused killer Brenda Schuff told him, Mamott said on the witness stand Tuesday during her Court of Queen's Bench murder trial.

Schuff, 46, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shocking death of her neighbour Judy Kenny on April 10, 2017.

Mamott, the first police officer on the scene, told jurors he was parked in the area reviewing reports shortly after 3 a.m., when he became aware of a "well-being call" that had been made from Kenny's Camden Place house.

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Just moments after Winnipeg police patrol Sgt. Ari Mamott discovered a lifeless body on a Wolseley kitchen floor, naked from the waist up with a knife stuck in her eye socket, a woman with bloody hands approached him outside on the sidewalk.

"'I'm the one you are going to want to talk to about this,'" accused killer Brenda Schuff told him, Mamott said on the witness stand Tuesday during her Court of Queen's Bench murder trial.

Brenda Schuff is accused of killing Judy Kenny, 54.

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Brenda Schuff is accused of killing Judy Kenny, 54.

Schuff, 46, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shocking death of her neighbour Judy Kenny on April 10, 2017.

Mamott, the first police officer on the scene, told jurors he was parked in the area reviewing reports shortly after 3 a.m., when he became aware of a "well-being call" that had been made from Kenny's Camden Place house.

"To me it sounded like a medical emergency," he said, explaining why he went inside Kenny's home before backup arrived.

Mamott said he entered the house from the back door, which was ajar, and saw Kenny's half-clothed body on the kitchen floor.

"I immediately saw the severity of the injuries," he said. "To me, the victim appeared deceased."

Mamott said he called for backup and left the house, concerned a potential suspect might still be inside, and he did a "quick sweep" of the garage before returning to the kitchen. It was then that he noticed a "chef-style knife" protruding from Kenny's right eye socket.

Prosecutors allege Kenny, 54, was outside looking for a friend's dog when she met the 46-year-old Schuff, who lived two doors away, for the first time. The two returned to Kenny's home to socialize, during which time Schuff beat, stomped and stabbed Kenny to death, the Crown believes.

Mamott told court he was on the sidewalk talking to a just-arrived first responder when Schuff, who was calm and didn't appear to be intoxicated, approached him.

"I asked, 'Can I help you? Did you see or hear anything suspicious?' She said, 'I'm the one you are going to want to talk to about this.' Then she showed me her hands (palms up) and they were covered with what looked like blood.

"I told her she was under arrest for murder and she said, 'murder!?' It was shock, almost questioning it."

Court previously heard of a Japanese exchange student staying in a basement room at Kenny's house who called a student mentor, who called 911.

Judy Kenny

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Judy Kenny

After arresting Schuff, Mamott and several officers returned to Kenny's house and found the student, Yuri Inagaki downstairs.

"She was extremely distraught, almost hysterical," Mamott testified.

The WPS officer said he also visited Schuff's house, where he found the accused's son, who "said he was playing video games all night and believed his mother to be home."

Mamott said he found what looked to be blood on the floor by the front door of Schuff's residence.

"I told officers to treat the house as a crime scene, and had officers stationed at the front and back," he said.

In a video statement recorded hours later, Inagaki told investigators she was awakened by the sound of two women's voices and screaming upstairs.

"I couldn't go upstairs because I was very scared," said the then-20-year-old woman.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

After a period of silence, the screaming continued and Inagaki called a student mentor at about 2:30 a.m. Inagaki said she heard a woman she believed to be Kenny yell for help and told the person on the phone to call police.

At one point, Inagaki told police she looked up from the basement stairs and into the kitchen and saw someone raising their arms in Kenny's direction.

Inagaki said she later went up the stairs and found Kenny dead on the kitchen floor.

In earlier testimony, Charles Gulay, a close friend of Kenny's, told jurors he had visited her at about 10:50 p.m. the previous evening to pick up his dog. Kenny had been looking after the dog while Gulay was out of the city.

Gulay said Kenny "was acting weird" and appeared to have been drinking.

Two hours later, Kenny called 311 to report the dog missing, evidently forgetting about Gulay's visit.

A toxicology report found Kenny had a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit for driving, a fact defence lawyer Matt Gould made note of while questioning identification unit Const. Susan Roy-Haegeman, suggesting Kenny's intoxication played a role in her death.

"It may speak to why we don't see a lot of defensive wounds on her body, but I don't think the fact she was drinking excessively plays into her being murdered," Roy-Haegeman said.

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 9:43 PM CDT: Fixes spelling of name.

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