At Peterborough Superior Court on Thursday afternoon , Justice Jocelyn Speyer rendered her verdict to the 75-year-old Finn of Westwood, a small community just east of Peterborough. She said based on her review of the evidence presented in the trial, the shooting “was a voluntary act, not an accident” and that Finn’s testimony was “not consistent and unreliable.”
Finn will receive a mandatory life sentence with no chance for parole for 25 years. He remained stoic as he received his verdict and thanked the judge.
Finn was arrested on the morning of Aug. 22, 2018, after police discovered Sandra Anne Finn, 70, with two gunshot wounds to the head lying inside the couple’s vehicle, which was parked outside the Home Depot on Lansdowne Street. The mother of two died later that day at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.
Finn was arrested at the scene and police found a loaded .38-calibre revolver on the hood of the car, court heard during testimony from witnesses in the trial, which began on Jan. 6.
During his interview with police, Finn admitted to growing frustration and stress due to financial challenges and their living arrangements at their son’s house.
In the interview, which was presented as Crown evidence, Finn admitted that the night prior to the shooting he said the only resolution was to “do her, then do myself.”
Crown attorney Frank Schwalm argued that Finn’s statement to the officer proved Finn planned a murder-suicide scheme, a claim Finn adamantly and repeatedly denied as he represented himself during the trial by judge. He testified he “just snapped” and that the shooting was “spontaneous” and wasn’t planned. He also claimed he couldn’t remember the shooting itself or the interview with police.
The Crown also argued the revolver needed to be reloaded for each shot; Finn — who was outside the car — claimed Sandra reached for the revolver and it fired.
Finn attempted to enter a guilty plea at the beginning of his trial, however, the judge struck it down when he stated he couldn’t definitively say whether he meant to kill his spouse of 55 years. Finn claimed his case was one of “diminished capacity” — a legal definition to describe a person who is unable to formulate specific intent necessary for a crime.
In her verdict, Speyer also said she didn’t accept Finn’s testimony in court that his only plan was to kill himself and that Sandra wasn’t part of his plot.
“I don’t accept that,” she said.
Of Finn’s mental state, the judge added: “I am satisfied Mr. Finn formed the intention to kill his wife.”
Speyer also noted Finn admitted he transported the revolver from his son’s Westwood home and had it concealed from his wife before pulling the trigger.
Victim impact statements were scheduled to be read in court later Thursday afternoon.