Wentworth sentenced to life in prison in Kingston, Ont. murder trial

Click to play video: 'Michael Wentworth sentenced to life in prison'
Michael Wentworth sentenced to life in prison
Nearly 25 years after his vicious crime spree began, Michael Wentworth was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and other charges on Friday – Jan 27, 2023

Michael Wentworth has been found guilty on five counts after his lengthy trial came to a close in Kingston, Ont., Friday. Justice Laurie Lacelle continued delivering verdicts in the murder trial for a second day.

Wentworth was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Richard Kimball, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Stephen St. Denis and guilty of arson in a 2000 Toronto car bombing.

“Your killing Richard Kimball and Steven St. Denis shows a chilling disregard for human life. Richard Kimball and Steven St. Denis were men with families who cared about them, even through their difficulties. They were human beings. They were your friends. It’s astounding to have to say that you are not entitled to take their lives.”

Read more: Judge delivers verdicts in Kingston, Ont. murder trial

Story continues below advertisement

Thursday, Wentworth was found guilty of robbing a bank in Kingston’s west end in 1996 and robbing 92-year-old Henrietta Knight. However, he was found not guilty of manslaughter in the elderly woman’s death – she succumbed to injuries suffered during the violent robbery five months after it happened.

He was sentenced to life in prison for the murders, 12 years for the robbery of Knight, and 10 years each for the arson and bank robbery.

“I agree with the comments of the Crown about the prospects of rehabilitation here and there are none.”

While Kimball’s body has never been found, Justice Lacelle concluded that Wentworth shot Kimball, before dismembering his body, burying and dumping the body parts in a river near Montreal.

Read more: Collisions on city streets, Highway 401 spike in Kingston, Ont. region during winter storm

During the statement of facts, Justice Lacelle acknowledged the argument that Kimball may still be alive and living in another country.

“I am fully satisfied he is not in this country anymore. I am satisfied that it is highly improbable that Kimball would have gone this long without another arrest or prosecution, and that his identity would not have been confirmed by fingerprints, even if he gave a false name,” Justice Lacelle told the courtroom.

Story continues below advertisement

“As for the possibility that he left the country, I find that it absolutely defies coincidence that Mr. Kimball decided to leave the country in the same general timeframe that the accused started talking about having killed him.”

Justice Lacelle says she is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of Wentworth’s involvement in the 2000 Toronto car bombing, in which Wentworth was found guilty of arson.

The court also heard that prior to the car bombing, Wentworth was paid to abduct David Allen, who was the intended target.

“The plan was that Allen would be abducted and brought to Kingston to be tortured. During the undercover investigation, the accused talked about his efforts to abduct Mr. Allen. He described renting a van and staking out Mr. Allen’s neighbourhood, as well as surveying Mr. Allen. The abduction proved difficult. Mr. Allen got away,” the court heard.

Click to play video: 'What is thundersnow? Rare weather phenomenon lights up parts of Ontario sky'
What is thundersnow? Rare weather phenomenon lights up parts of Ontario sky

Wentworth was also found guilty of the death of Steven St. Denis at his home on Joyceville Road. Lacelle concluded Wentworth set up a scene in which it would appear as though St. Denis died in an accidental house fire.

Story continues below advertisement

Wentworth drugged St. Denis and placed his body on a couch with a remote nearby as if he were watching television. Then he set up an electric element and heated cooking oil to the point of combustion, to make it seem as if St. Denis was also cooking french fries at the time.

“The accused planned and committed the murder of Mr. St. Denis. He planned to make it look like an accident … There is no issue that Stephen St. Denis died as a result of smoke inhalation in a house fire at 1538 Joyce Hill Rd. in Kingston on October 21st, 2001,” she said.

Justice Lacelle said Wentworth killed St. Denis in fear of him working with David Allen, and giving him information about the earlier abduction attempt and car bombing.

In the robbery conviction, Wentworth was initially charged with manslaughter because the robbery involved the beating of Knight.

“Your assaults on Henrietta Knight were horrific. It is hard to imagine how you could so badly harm a 92-year-old woman. It is the kind of offence that strikes terror in the hearts of vulnerable people living alone. And your sentence for this offence must be severe.”

Sponsored content