A Kelowna woman charged in a 2021 killing and castration case will undergo a fitness assessment before her trial resumes.
Gabby Sears, who is charged with the second-degree murder of Darren Middleton, brought her trial to a halt last month when she fired her lawyers. Now, weeks later, a judge is focusing on whether Sears is mentally fit to stand trial on the charge.
How long that will take remains to be seen, but representative of the BC Prosecution Service said the trial is scheduled to resume Jan. 4, 2024.
During a pre-trial voir dire, Sears, a transgender woman charged under the name Dereck Sears, claimed she was the victim of an assault and that precipitated her fatal attack on Middleton. At that time, her then-lawyer, Jordan Watt, successfully argued her jailhouse confession to the killing should be ousted from the evidence the Crown could draw on in its case.
Since then, the judge has heard from RCMP officers and witnesses about the gruesome crime and repeatedly looked at video from the scene.
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A Louisville Slugger baseball bat and box cutter were found next to the body of Middleton on June 17, 2021, Brenda Adams, Middleton’s common-law spouse of four years, told the court.
Adams and Middleton had known Sears for around five months, Adams said. They were friends, and Sears, at that time known as Dereck, worked for the couple, helping with manual labour around their property. In turn, they paid Sears in food and drinks.
One day, Middleton failed to come home when he said he would. That’s when Adams thought she should check in with Sears and drove to her house.
When she arrived at the Sycamore Road home, Adams saw Middleton’s truck in the driveway. She “could hear water running inside the residence and nothing else,” Crown counsel David Grabavac told the court.
Adams then entered the home and discovered Middleton’s body partially undressed and castrated on the bathroom floor next to a running tub, Grabavac said.
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