The Peterborough-area man accused of fatally shooting his wife in a Home Depot parking lot testified Tuesday that she didn’t deserve what he did to her.
Terrance Finn was arrested on the morning of Aug. 22, 2018 and charged with first-degree murder after police found his wife, Sandra Finn, 70, injured inside their vehicle outside a Home Depot on Lansdowne Street in Peterborough. Expert and witness testimony last week said Sandra was shot twice in the head and later died that day at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.
Finn was arrested at the scene on Lansdowne Street West.
Finn, representing himself in the trial by judge at Peterborough Superior Court, has admitted to the shooting but says he doesn’t know if he meant to kill his wife.
He claims his case is one of “diminished capacity” — a legal definition to describe a person who is unable to formulate specific intent necessary for a crime. The Crown has argued Finn’s intention was a murder-suicide plan.
On Tuesday, after the Crown wrapped up its case, Finn declared he wasn’t calling any witnesses but wanted to relay to the court his perspective on the incident.
Finn, 75, recalled his accident-free career as a transport driver and his wife’s desire to be closer to their five grandchildren. He told court the couple sold their Omemee home on Pigeon Lake and moved into one of their son’s homes in Westwood, just east of Peterborough. They were building an extension on the home, but the building permit was delayed and construction problems led to flood damage, Finn testified.
He was also “frantic” over a May 2018 mischief charge involving an altercation with a neighbour, court heard, and Finn testified he feared he would lose his driver’s and gun licences.
“It was problems, problems, problems. I couldn’t take it anymore,” he told court.
Finn testified that he once considered suicide while in Buckhorn, north of Peterborough, but a phone conversation with Sandra made him reconsider after she told him to think of their grandchildren.
His testimony turned to the night before the shooting, when he said he again considered suicide, this time at his gun club. On the morning of the shooting, Finn testified that he asked his wife to take him to the gun club but she declined, as they needed to visit Home Depot and he had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon.
At the store parking lot, Finn testified he waited in the car as she went into the store to return a few items. As Sandra returned to the vehicle, Finn said he put the gun in the sleeve of his jacket and got out to meet her at the rear of the car.
However, Finn told court he doesn’t know how the shooting occurred, whether “Sandra grabbed the gun” or the weapon went off “accidentally.”
“I made another shot,” he said. “I don’t know why.”
Finn reiterated his plan was to kill himself, not his wife of 55 years with whom he shared “great times together.”
“Fifty-five years of marriage. I don’t think there’s too many people in our family who made it that far,” Finn said.
Finn testified he “felt nothing” at the police station following his arrest and couldn’t remember the statements he made to police. He again told court there was no premeditation in his action.
“Sandy was the backbone of our family,” he said.
Prior to Finn’s testimony, the Crown presented its last witness, firearms expert Toni Brinck.
Brinck testified she examined the weapon found at the scene, a .38 revolver that was in good working condition. She noted the gun’s hammer has to be cocked before the trigger can be pulled to discharge the gun. Police last week testified the gun was found loaded and cocked on the hood of Finn’s car.
In cross-examination, Finn asked if there were any fingerprints on the gun. Brinck noted fingerprints are extracted by police.
She also said a damaged, discharged bullet was submitted to the Centre of Forensic Sciences, but it was “inconclusive” whether the bullet matched others found in the gun.
The trial continues Wednesday.
WATCH: Previous Global News coverage of the trial of Terrance Finn