Viola Pook pleads to manslaughter after new evidence

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: Found guilty of murder of her common-law husband Orlando Mai Vasquez by a jury in 2011, Rancho Dolores housewife Viola Pook was handed a term of life imprisonment. Veola Pook manslaughterBut she appealed to the Court of Appeal and won a retrial.

Today that retrial was set to have begun. Pook had always maintained that she was not guilty of murder and that she never threw a bottle of kerosene over her common law husband and then lit him on fire. So then, what made her decide to plead guilty today to the lesser charge of manslaughter before Justice Adolph Lucas?

There is new evidence surfacing in her favour of her being a victim of domestic abuse, a battered woman, which shocked the court but convinced the Crown to accept her plea. Sentencing has been deferred for next week Thursday, October 22, 2015 where Judge Adolph Lucas will hear mitigation pleas and sentencing guidelines. Witnesses will also be called to testify to her state of mind and her character.

Pook has now accepted that on December 31, 2008, she set gasoline on her common law husband, Vasquez, then set him on fire.   She was later found with burns to one of her hands and according to the police officer who responded to the scene, Pook said to him, “Dah me ketch ah fire.”

The DPP’s office was represented by Crown Prosecutor, Shanice Lovell.

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