A Kelowna woman charged with the October 2021 killing of her husband will be tried by a jury of her peers next year, according to court records.
Billie Jo Bennett, 54, will stand trial for the second-degree murder of James Wesley Bennett on Jan. 9, 2023. She already opted to be tried by a jury.
Bennett was charged in early December 2021, though she was first arrested in the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 18, 2021, homicide in the 600 block of Bechard Road.
She was released the next day when the BC Prosecution Service failed to come up with charges and Supt. Kara Triance called a press conference on Oct. 22, 2021, to address questions raised in the wake of the investigation that seemingly hit an impasse.
The woman was apprehended under the Mental Health Act shortly after, but at that point, RCMP officers were cut out of the loop, Triance said at the time.
“So often, it is these systems that we are caught between,” Triance said.
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“The police are left between the health-care system, which is burdened by the constraints that it has, and the justice system, where there are a lot of restrictions and increasingly closed doors of remand centres that are full of policies and directives that I believe are important, and modernizing our justice system, but leaving individuals at large in their community.”
This “frustrating situation” is affecting the way RCMP can keep the community safe, she said, eroding the sense of safety for residents.
Bennett currently remains in custody.