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B.C. man accused of mass shooting in Penticton pleads guilty to 4 counts of murder

Click to play video: 'Penticton man pleads guilty to quadruple homicide'
Penticton man pleads guilty to quadruple homicide
Sixty-nine-year-old John Brittain has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of four Penticton seniors. Jules Knox reports. – Oct 14, 2020

WARNING: This story contains graphic material. Discretion is advised.

A B.C. man accused of perpetrating a mass shooting in the Okanagan last year pleaded guilty on Wednesday to four counts of murder.

John Brittain, 69, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder following the quadruple homicide on April 15, 2019.

In Kelowna court, Brittain pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder.

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Prior to pleading guilty, the judge asked Brittain if he understood that by doing so he was foregoing his right to trial, along with being sentenced to life. He said he did.

The victims — Rudi Winter, Barry and Susan Wonch, and Darlene Knippelberg — were all neighbours of Brittain’s former wife, Katherine Brittain.

Court heard that Brittain visited his former wife’s home on a regular basis, and that they started having problems with some of their neighbours.

The Crown says Katherine talked to Brittain about her grievances, including a tree being cut down and complaints of smoke coming from a chimney and drainage onto the property.

Click to play video: 'Lawsuit claims accused Penticton mass shooter conspired with ex-wife'
Lawsuit claims accused Penticton mass shooter conspired with ex-wife

On April 15, Crown said Brittain took a rifle from his linen closet and loaded it with ammunition at 10 a.m.

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He then went and shot Winter, with Crown saying the victim was shot five times.

From there, Brittain drove to an ATM, withdrew $200 and drove to Cornwall Drive, parking in front of Winter’s house. He then walked to the Wonch residence, and, with another loaded firearm taken from his trunk, shot and killed the couple inside their garage.

Crown said both were shot at least twice.

Brittain then walked over to Knippelberg’s home. He knocked on the door and she answered, with Brittain then shooting and killing her.

Crown said an autopsy found that Knippelberg was shot three times.

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At 11:13 a.m., Brittain drove himself to the RCMP detachment and turned himself in.

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Brittain said his former wife was not aware of his intentions.

A two-day sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Brittain.

Suggesting that this was an execution-style killing, Crown has asked for life in prison with no parole eligibility for 40 years.

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