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Man accused of lying about seeing Sudbury murder suspect insists he was always telling the truth


The defence was on the offensive again Wednesday in Sudbury at the second-degree murder trial of Robert Steven Wright.

Wright is charged with the Jan. 27, 1998, stabbing death of Renee Sweeney, who was killed while working as a clerk at the Adults Only Video (AOV) store at a Paris Street strip mall.

In Sudbury court, assistant Crown attorney Kevin Ludgate continued his cross-examination of Raymond Hutchinson, who lived close to the mall and worked at a computer store a couple of doors down from AOV.

The morning of the murder, Hutchinson testified he told police he saw someone go into the video store between 10:45 and 11:10 a.m.

Court heard earlier that Sweeney was on the phone around 11 a.m. when someone came into the store. It was the last time anyone spoke to her before a young couple stumbled on the crime scene around 11:30 a.m. and called for help.

Wright has admitted he was in the store when the young couple came in, but denies any involvement in the murder. He said he fled in fear and panic when the young couple arrived.

Jurors have already been told that John Fetterly was charged with the crime in February 1998, He was then released when police realized they made a mistake analyzing fingerprints found on the cash tray inside the video store.

Before he was released, however, police brought Hutchinson in to review a 12-person photo lineup to see whether he could identify the person he saw that morning. Fetterly was included among the pictures.

Hutchinson testified he narrowed the photos down to two people before picking Fetterly as the person he saw entering the store.

“I looked at them for a while. I examined them all,” Hutchinson said, speaking via Zoom from southern Ontario.

“I was more confident in that one (of Fetterly) than the other one … There was something about his eyes.”

Once he saw the positive reaction of police to his choice of Fetterly, he said he felt much more confident.

“I felt I received confirmation (that I picked) the right person – that I had selected the person they liked.”

In Sudbury court Wednesday, assistant Crown attorney Kevin Ludgate continued his cross-examination of Raymond Hutchinson, who lived close to the Paris Street strip mall and worked at a computer store a couple of doors down from Adults Only Video. (File)

But Ludgate questioned whether Hutchinson was truly confident or was really relying on the positive reinforcement from police.

“Even as of the 12th of February, you weren’t really sure you had picked the right person?” he asked. “Would you agree with me?”

“At the time, I was fairly confident,” Hutchinson said.

More than a year later, however, in June 1999, Sudbury police were no longer so positive. They accused him of lying about what he saw that morning and threatened to charge him.

Hutchinson said he told police at the 1999 interview that he had seen other people that morning, including a man outside a nearby convenience store and another around Laurentian Village.

Police had already told him Fetterly had been in police custody at the time of the murder. Hutchinson said he was trying to help think of other potential suspects since he lived in the area and was familiar with it.

“I thought of other people … that also could have been people that may have been involved in the situation,” he said.

“All I was saying was there are other people they probably should looking at for one reason or another.”

When Ludgate completed his questions, Lacy had Hutchinson confirm that it was police who told him Fetterly was in custody when Sweeney was killed.

Yes, Hutchinson said.


“You didn’t know they were lying to you?” Lacy said, before Ludgate objected.

Lacy then moved on and the matter wasn’t raised again. He asked Hutchinson whether the person he saw could have entered the store around 11 a.m.

“It’s possible,” Hutchinson replied.

“All I know is that I was still at home at 10:37 (a.m.).”

Finally, Lacy asked him if he was lying when he identified Fetterly in the 12-photo lineup the police provided.

“No,” he said.


Court ended for the day when an agreed statement of facts was read that focused on the fact Sudbury police didn’t take photos of a bloody footprint found on a video box on the floor of the crime scene.

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard that a bloody deadbolt on the only entrance and exit to the store wasn’t swabbed for DNA or checked for fingerprints.

And a soap dispenser and a coffee cup that was in the bathroom where bloody footprints were found had been removed and were never checked for DNA or other evidence.

The trial resumes Thursday morning. digital content specialist Darren MacDonald will continue to follow the case from inside the courtroom and provide daily updates.

Find all of the previous trial coverage here.


The brutal stabbing death of 23-year-old Renee Sweeney rocked the City of Sudbury to its core on Jan. 27, 1998.

Police searched for her killer for two decades and finally charged Robert Steven Wright, who was 18 years old at the time of the murder. He has been held in jail since his arrest in Dec. 2018.

After several delays, the trial began Feb. 21, 2023, just after the 25th anniversary of Sweeney's death.

CTV News Digital content producer Darren MacDonald is bringing the latest from the courtroom every day and will have full coverage of the trial here. Top Stories

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