In an interview with police just several hours after the incident, the Peterborough-area man accused of shooting his wife in a Home Depot parking lot claims he couldn’t remember why he was arrested but that he ‘just snapped.’
The hour-long interview was played Thursday in Peterborough Superior Court as part of the Crown’s evidence during the fourth day of the first-degree murder trial for Terrance Finn.
The 77-year-old Westwood man was arrested around 8 a.m. at the scene on Lansdowne Street West on the morning of Aug. 22, 2018, after police said they found his wife, Sandra Finn, with gunshot wounds inside a vehicle.
The 70-year-old woman died later that day at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.
Earlier this week, court heard testimony from police officers who said a loaded, cocked revolver was found on the hood of the vehicle and that Sandra was shot twice in the head.
During the video interview with Peterborough Police Service Det. Const. Mark Reesor, which began around 11:25 a.m., Finn says he doesn’t remember why he was arrested.
“I guess for murder, I don’t know,” Finn says.
Reesor confirmed that statement and read him his legal rights. In response, Finn says he didn’t want to speak to a lawyer.
“I don’t need legal advice. I know what I did,” Finn said.
Finn, representing himself in the trial by judge, attempted to plead guilty on Monday but the judge struck it down when Finn stated he wasn’t sure he meant to kill his wife. He claimed his case was one of “diminished capacity.”
In the video interview, Finn then launches into a prolonged statement, describing to Reesor his feelings of frustration, anxiety and depression.
He relayed financial troubles that led the couple to sell their home in nearby Omemee along with “thousands of dollars” spent building an addition to their son’s home in Westwood — work that wasn’t complete and left him feeling like he was “living in a matchbox.”
As a result, Finn said, he and Sandra would have no money left in their “golden years” despite her assurances everything would work out.
“I was going to do her and do myself. But I didn’t want to do it at the house.”
That morning, Finn says he put the gun under the passenger seat of the car and pulled the weapon out while Sandra was inside Home Depot.
“I waited for her to come out and I shot her,” Finn tells Reesor.
“She was grabbing for the gun; she was saying, ‘stop, stop.'”
Finn tells Reesor his “plan” was to call 911 and then shoot himself. However, Finn says he couldn’t get his phone to work, so instead he asked a bystander to call 911.
He says he was on his way back to the car to retrieve the gun and shoot himself, however, police arrived and ordered him to stay where he was.
“I destroyed everything, I know that,” Finn said.
In the video Reesor then inquires what made Finn decide that Sandra deserved to die. Finn pauses for a moment, then returns to describing their living conditions.
Reesor then asks Finn if he thought it would be better if Sandra was “out of the picture.” Finn pauses, and continues to detail his concerns about the renovation.
“I just snapped,” he says.
Finn says he regrets what he has done and concluded, “I just finally had enough and I cracked.”
In cross-examination, Finn tells the court the video was “devastating” and affirms what he said in it.
The Crown says it expects to call one more witness — a firearms expert — who isn’t available until next week.
Justice Jocelyn Speyer advised Finn to spend Friday and the weekend to review his options on whether he wants to call witnesses and/or testify himself.
Earlier Thursday, the Crown submitted several Home Depot surveillance videos as evidence. One video shows Sandra entering the store around 6:40 a.m. to make a return. Another shows her at a cash register purchasing a lock which Reesor testified was later located in the trunk of Finn’s car.
Another video shows Sandra standing outside the car before hugging a male and then entering the vehicle as a male remains by the vehicle pacing back and forth.
During the playing of the surveillance videos, Finn rose in the courtroom and stated he “doesn’t remember any of this.”
Reesor also testified that a post-mortem examination determined Sandra was struck by two bullets, but police were only successful in locating one of them.
In his cross-examination, Finn inquired about a bullet mark in the driver’s side door. Finn told the court he fired the two shots at Sandra but claimed he didn’t fire the shot that damaged the door. Finn suggested a police officer handling the gun caused it to misfire.
The trial will resume on Tuesday.