Crown calls parking lot shooting at Peterborough Home Depot ‘a public execution’

Terrance Finn’s interview with Peterborough police following parking lot shooting arrest in 2018
Terrance Finn was interviewed by Peterborough Police Service just several hours after his wife was found shot inside a vehicle parked outside a Home Depot on Aug. 22, 2018.

In its closing statements on Friday morning, the Crown says there is “overwhelming” evidence that Terrance Finn intended to kill his wife in August 2018 in Peterborough.

“It was a public execution,” said Crown attorney Frank Schwalm in his closing remarks. “A cold-blooded killing.”

READ MORE: Tempers flare at trial as Terrance Finn denies plot to shoot wife in Peterborough Home Depot parking lot

Terrance Finn, 76, was arrested on Aug. 22, 2018, and charged with first-degree murder after police found his wife Sandra with two gun wounds inside a vehicle parked outside a Home Depot in Peterborough. Finn was arrested at the scene and Sandra Anne Finn, 70, died later that day at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, police said.

Finn — representing himself — attempted to plead guilty to the shooting prior to the start of his trial on Jan. 6 but the judge struck it down when the Westwood resident said he couldn’t definitely say if he meant to kill his wife.

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In his closing submissions, Schwalm replayed segments of Finn’s hour-long interview with Peterborough police just three hours after his arrest. Schwalm noted Finn was oriented during the discussion and understood the consequences of his actions. In the video, Finn told an officer he was overwhelmed by a home renovation and financial concerns and that the only solution was to “do her, then do myself.” Finn admitted he was thinking about it the night before the incident while sleeping at their son’s home in Westwood.

Schwalm also reminded the court that officers found a loaded gun on the roof of the vehicle — a revolver, which required being physically cocked each time to fire, a firearms expert testified earlier this week. Finn testified he kept the .38-calibre revolver hidden from Sandra and waited in the car until she returned from the store. He testified he was outside the vehicle and the gun discharged while she was in the driver’s seat.

During his testimony, Finn said he couldn’t remember the events of the shooting other than Sandra reached out to the gun and it went off “spontaneous”.

Sandra Anne Finn
Sandra Anne Finn

Schwalm concluded that Finn was “lying” about planning the murder in order to preserve his remaining relationship with his family. The couple have two sons — Kevin and Michael — and five grandchildren.

“The only evidence to the contrary comes from Finn himself,” said the Crown.

A court-appointed amicus to help with legal matters reiterated Finn’s argument that he doesn’t remember what occurred during the shooting and that the incident is a case of “diminished capacity” — a legal definition to describe a person who is unable to formulate specific intent necessary for a crime.

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The amicus also reminded the court of Kevin Finn’s testimony that his father’s behaviour had been changing and he had become more “withdrawn” months prior to the shooting.

Finn also spoke on Friday, stating he can’t remove what has previously said and that his mind “isn’t working.”

“I’ve been in jail for 17 months. My health is getting worse,” he said.

Finn, becoming visibly upset, stated again he does not know why he shot his wife of 55 years, claiming there was no planning involved.

“I did what I did. I have destroyed everything,” he said. “I was answering everything with whatever came to me.”

Finn added that he wished he had taken the officer’s advice and spoken with a lawyer before giving a statement at the police station.

“Yes, I killed my wife. I was under so much stress, I had no control over what I was doing,” Finn read aloud from a piece of paper. “I shot my wife with a thousand regrets.”

Justice Jocelyn Speyer said she will take time to render a verdict. The trial has been adjourned until Jan. 23.