A 100 Mile House man entered a guilty plea Monday for the brutal killing of his former girlfriend three years ago.
Michael Edward Martel, 49, appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Williams Lake at 10 a.m., pleading guilty to second degree murder of 37-year-old Vesna Dumstrey-Soos on Jan. 3, 2016 in a 100 Mile House residence.
Martel was originally charged with first degree murder and the trial was expected to start this week. He has been in jail since giving himself up to police three days after the murder.
Police discovered the victim’s body in her South Cariboo home after receiving a request from her employer asking officers to check on her well-being because she had not come to work as scheduled, which they said was out of character for her.
Wearing a prison-issued red sweatsuit Monday, Martel, a short stocky man with a brush cut, sat in the prisoner’s box as Crown Counsel Richard Fernyhough read out the agreed statement of facts outlining the gruesome case.
In 2015 Dumstrey-Soos and Martel were living common-law in a home at 6053 Norman Road in 100 Mile House with Martel’s son.
In the latter part of 2015 the common-law relationship ended and Martel and his son moved to 6531 Valhalla Road, less than two kilometres away.
Dumstrey-Soos began a relationship with a man from Williams Lake in December 2015.
About Dec. 19, 2015 Martel became aware of the relationship.
After Dumstrey-Soos spent time in Williams Lake with her new boyfriend during Christmas and New Year’s she returned home on Jan. 2, 2016.
Martel was seen at her house on Jan. 3, 2016 at approximately 4:30 p.m and Dumstrey-Soos was observed “alive and well.”
Fernyhough said it was noted at the time that Martel appeared upset and sober when he left and returned home by approximately 5 p.m.
Later that evening, some time after 9 p.m., Martel returned to the Norman Road home of Dumstrey-Soos.
Dumstrey-Soos was home playing a video game online with her boyfriend who was in Williams Lake.
Martel entered the house and physically attacked her in and around the laundry room.
“The attack was unprovoked as the term is defined in the criminal code,” Fernyhough said.
Martel struck Dumstrey-Soos multiple times on the head then shot her four times.
“When Martel assaulted Dumstrey-Soos he meant to cause her death,” Fernyhough said.
Martel then shot Dumstrey-Soos’s dog with the same rifle.
Fernyhough said Martel texted the following message to Dumstrey-Soos’s phone between 4:50 and 5 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2016. ‘”I am sorry baby for what I did. Can’t live without you. Forgive me God. I love you. Can’t live without you.”
Martel returned home to the Valhalla Road house at 6 a.m.
At some point he shot and killed his two cats with the same .22 calibre rifle.
He left the house at 10 a.m., after changing his clothes and leaving them saturated with her blood in his bedroom.
Taking the rifle with him, he went to the transfer station and then attended a local convenience store where he purchased pizza and a drink.
Martel drove to Kamloops and checked into a motel at 2 p.m. Some time that day he withdrew $2,040 from his bank account.
Two days later he turned himself into the police at approximately 2 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2016 but before that disposed of the rifle, which Crown said has never been recovered.
Supreme Court Judge Marguerite Church accepted a suggestion from Crown and defence that a psychiatric report be done on Martel.
The next court date for the case is Jan. 28 to set a date for sentencing.
Church said she would rely on the submissions from Crown and defence to determine an appropriate sentence.
Dumstrey-Soos was born in Kitimat, B.C. and worked as a child development consultant in 100 Mile House.
On Monday, members of her family were there for the guilty plea being supported by Victim Services.
The trial had been scheduled to run for five weeks.