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An Oshawa man has been found guilty of first-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the deaths of two teenage girls.
Adam Strong had pleaded not guilty in the murders of 18-year-old Rori Hache and 19-year-old Kandis Fitzpatrick.
The ruling was delivered by Superior Court Justice Joseph Di Luca Tuesday afternoon. Strong was remanded into custody until his sentencing hearing set for 9:30 a.m. April 21.
“It’s the nightmare that keeps on giving. I’m very sad for the Fitzpatrick family today. I’m relieved that we have first degree on Rori, elated,” said Hache’s godmother Krysia Meeldyk outside the courthouse after the verdict was read.
“It’s justice and I understand that he’s not going to get out, he’s going to jail and that’s important. That this predator leaves this community and this never happens again to another child, to another family,” she continued.
Fitzpatrick’s father stormed out of the courthouse upon hearing the manslaughter verdict.
“I have a tremendous bond with Bill. He wanted justice for his daughter just like we wanted for Rori. We wanted it for both,” said Meeldyk.
“That man is hurting, what do you do.”
Court heard Strong previously acknowledged prosecutors had proven he dismembered the two women but argued they failed to prove he killed either one. Fitzpatrick’s body was never found.
In his ruling, Di Luca said Strong killed Hache in September 2017 by repeatedly hitting her in the head with a hammer or a similar object as she lay bound in his bedroom.
The judge said the killing constitutes first-degree murder because it occurred in the course of a sexual assault.
He found Strong also killed Fitzpatrick in 2008, however, Di Luca said there was “insufficient evidence” to prove that Strong intended to murder Fitzpatrick. He said it was only clear that Strong “unlawfully caused her death” and therefore he was found guilty of manslaughter and not first-degree murder.
In the months-long trial which began on Sept. 28, 2020, the court heard gruesome details in relation to the murder including hours of taped interviews between Strong and investigators.
Strong was charged with two counts of first-degree murder by Durham Regional Police in November 2018. He was initially charged with improper/indecent interference with a body with regard to Hache but that charge was later dropped.
Hache’s torso was found floating in the Oshawa Harbour on Sept. 11, 2017 by a fisherman, several weeks after being reported missing by her family. More remains were found at the accused’s home by two plumbers, one of whom testified at Strong’s trial.
Court heard from plumber Jeremiah Wildeboer who, along with another plumber, discovered human remains in Strong’s pipes after he was called to his home to snake the drains on Dec. 29, 2017. Other residents of the McMillan Drive home complained the pipes were backed up.
The plumber testified the pair removed substance that was pink and coming out in strips with hair on it.
Wildeboer said he contacted his boss who told them to pack their tools and leave. He said they then contacted police.
An officer testified at trial that when police responded to Strong’s house and asked him why his pipes were clogged, that the accused admitted it was a body and that the rest of her was in the freezer. Until that call from the plumbers, police said Strong was not a suspect.
Crown attorney Bryan Guertin told the court investigators did find the rest of Hache’s body inside a large freezer in Strong’s bedroom. Hache’s blood was on Strong’s bedroom walls and ceiling, and he said Strong’s semen was found on her body.
Forensic investigators who searched Strong’s home also discovered a second DNA set on a knife and blood in a freezer and in Strong’s bedroom, which was later confirmed in July 2018 to be that of Fitzpatrick, who was reported missing in 2008.
“Ms. Fitzpatrick found the same fate as Ms. Hache,” Guertin said.
Court heard Hache was pregnant at the time of her death. She also suffered from drug issues.
Outside court on the first day of the trial, Shanan Dionne, Hache’s mother, said the trial was not about her daughter being homeless or “a drug-addict toss away that wasn’t loved.”
“Because she was so loved,” she said.
Hache’s godmother, Krysia Meeldyk previously described her to Global News as a “beautiful, strong and extremely smart young lady. We love and miss her immensely.”
William Fitzpatrick, Kandis’s father, also testified. He said he last saw her in the spring of 2008 and had not heard from her since.
He said his daughter also struggled with drugs and would leave the family home for weeks at a time without word.
They launched a Facebook page to get the word out after several months without hearing from her. He said he looked for her in Oshawa and neighbouring cities without luck.
“Miss you, love you Kandis” William Fitzpatrick wrote on the page, which was shown in court.
Strong did not testify at the trial and his lawyer offered no defence.
—With files from The Canadian Press, Catherine McDonald and Brittany Rosen