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.
- Read more on the Sweeney Murder Case
- Download our app to get local alerts on your device
- Get the latest local updates right to your inbox
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?'
“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.
AN AGREED STATEMENT OF FACTS
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. CTVNewsNorthernOntario.ca 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.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Experts warn of 'rapid' growth of IBD as number of Canadians diagnosed set to reach 470K by 2035
The number of people in Canada with inflammatory bowel disease is increasing rapidly and is expected to grow to 470,000 by 2035, according to a new report from Crohn's and Colitis Canada
Canada silent on Polish democratic backslide as prime minister visits Ottawa
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is welcoming Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to Canada Friday as the federal Liberals keep quiet about a democratic backslide in his country.
Poilievre tries to head off PPC vote as Bernier bets on social conservatives
Pierre Poilievre is off to Manitoba to rally Conservative supporters ahead of a byelection that Maxime Bernier is hoping will send him back to Parliament. The far-right People's Party of Canada leader lost his Quebec seat in the 2019 federal vote and lost again in the 2021 election.
Kyiv defences thwart Russia's 6th air assault in 6 days against Ukraine capital
Ukrainian air defences shot down more than 30 Russian cruise missiles and drones in Moscow's sixth air attack in six days on Kyiv, local officials said Friday. The Ukrainian capital was simultaneously attacked from different directions by Iranian-made Shahed drones and cruise missiles from the Caspian region.
Biden trips after speech addressing U.S. Air Force Academy graduates
U.S. President Joe Biden quipped that he got 'sandbagged' Thursday after he tripped and fell -- but was uninjured -- while onstage at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation.
Hidden camera discovered in washroom at Gatineau, Que. elementary school
Gatineau police say officers responded to a call from staff at l’école l'Oiseau Bleu on Nelligan Street just after 10 a.m. Friday about a camera found in the washroom.
Jordan's crown prince weds scion of Saudi family in royal wedding packed with stars, symbolism
Jordan's crown prince married the scion of a prominent Saudi family on Thursday in a palace ceremony attended by royals and other VIPs from around the world, as massive crowds gathered across the kingdom to celebrate the region's newest power couple.
5 things to know for Friday, June 2, 2023
More Canadians have inflammatory bowel disease, Meta prepares to block news for some Canadians on Facebook and Instagram, and there's a fight for conservative voters in Manitoba.
Meta will test blocking news on Instagram, Facebook for some Canadians
Meta is planning to run a test that will block news for some Canadian users on Facebook and Instagram in response to the Liberal government's controversial online news bill.
Woman dead after three vehicles collided in Vaughan
A woman has died following a three-vehicle collision in Vaughan.
Barrie police warn residents not to hug strangers after 'bizarre theft'
Police in Barrie are warning the public about a "bizarre theft" where the suspects targeted a senior on her property outside her home.
Nixing Canadian experience rule spells opportunity for Ontario foreign engineers, workers say
Accessible Community Counselling and Employment Services, a charity that supports internationally trained engineers like Zaitsev, said the dropping of the Canadian experience requirement is a welcome development.
Counterfeits, photocopies: Toronto police crack down on accessible parking permit fraud
Toronto police are cracking down on drivers misusing the accessible permits.
Average home price in GTA ticked up in May as demand continues to outpace supply: TRREB
The average selling price of a home in the Greater Toronto Area ticked up again last month as supply continues to lag behind growing demand, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board says.
Man accused of threatening to shoot Toronto mayoral candidates arrested
A man who allegedly threatened to shoot mayoral candidates that led to the cancellation of Thursday’s debate has been arrested.
Some Ottawa parents keep kids home from school due to Pride activities, OCDSB says
As the Rainbow flag flew at schools across Ottawa on Thursday, the public school board says some parents kept their children home from school due to possible Pride activities.
Iranian family living in Ottawa faces homelessness after falling out of status
An Iranian family living in Ottawa is desperately pleading for help and struggling to stay in Canada with their two young kids, after falling out of status and losing their jobs.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | What's happening in Ottawa this weekend: June 2-4
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at things to do in Ottawa, eastern Ontario and western Quebec during the first weekend in June.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA
CAUGHT ON CAMERA | 'This isn’t going to happen today': Staff at Kitchener business recall how they thwarted attempted robbery
The shocking incident was captured on the store's security cameras.
One person dead, another critically injured in Guelph crash
Police say a man appeared to suffer from a medical incident while driving in Guelph, causing his vehicle to go off the road and hit a woman who was sitting on the grass.
New details in devastating Kitchener townhouse fire
Officials say it could be weeks – or months – before the residents displaced by a Kitchener townhouse fire can return home.
Critical injuries reported after single-vehicle crash near Muncey
The crash happened around 6 a.m. and according to Strathroy Caradoc fire, at least one person is having to be extracted.
Man known to frequent London wanted on a Canada-wide warrant
OPP are looking for Matthew Daigneault — wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for a breach of statutory release. He is described as a white man about 6’ tall, 243 lbs, with a short/receding hairline.
Long-time supporter of London, Ont. minor sports passes away
Jimmy Agathos, a well-known London, Ont. businessman who supported his community for decades through minor sports, passed away early Thursday morning.
Portion of Howard Avenue now open after lengthy overnight closure
According to Windsor police, there was some type of spill, possibly a cooking oil, from an unknown vehicle that coated the road near the E.C. Row Expressway off ramp.
'Like a house of cards': Defence for accused in murder trial begin closing summations
A Windsor murder trial that started in February and heard from dozens of witnesses is coming to a close as defence lawyers for the accused kicked off their closing summations Thursday.
Verge of a Stellantis battery plant deal? Politicians and leaders weigh in
Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk used a basketball analogy to describe where negotiations stand between the Liberals and Stellantis and guaranteed a Game 7 win.
Calling 311? Bill 96 now requires Montrealers to 'attest' they can get English services
Residents who wish to speak with the City of Montreal by calling 311 now have to attest they can receive services in English because of Bill 96. New provisions of the language law came into effect Thursday.
Shots fired at multiple Crescent Street businesses in downtown Montreal
Montreal police are investigating Friday after shots were fired at multiple buildings on Crescent Street, a popular downtown spot containing restaurants, luxury boutiques and art galleries.
Power restored to most Hydro-Quebec customers after forest fire outages
Power has been restored to most of the Hydro-Quebec customers who lost electricity Thursday due to northern forest fires. By 6:30 a.m. Friday, just 5,350 customers remained powerless, down from 250,000 from the previous day.
N.S. premier calls for urgent, proactive firefighting help from Ottawa
Premier Tim Houston repeated his calls for urgent firefighting help Thursday, asking Ottawa to “be proactive” with aid as multiple wildfires continue to burn out of control.
Waegwoltic Club burns in south-end Halifax
A historic athletic club in south-end Halifax is on fire.
Prospect Road fire 'knocked down,' but not yet under control: Halifax deputy fire chief
Halifax deputy fire chief David Meldrum says a new fire started Thursday afternoon on Prospect Road, near St. Margaret’s Bay Road, and “a large area of forest and brush are involved.”
Winnipeg among parts of Manitoba under heat warning
The mercury is rising in parts of Manitoba including Winnipeg where heat warnings have been issued.
Collapsed platform in Winnipeg's Fort Gibraltar last repaired a decade ago: city
The elevated walkway in Winnipeg's Fort Gibraltar that collapsed during a school field trip, sending 16 children and one adult to hospital, was last repaired a decade ago.
Manitoba premier issues apology for centre for people with intellectual disabilities
Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson formally apologized in the legislature Thursday to former residents of the Manitoba Developmental Centre, one of the country's last large institutional facilities for people with intellectual disabilities.
Suncor to cut 1,500 jobs by end of year, employees informed Thursday
Suncor Energy Inc. will cut 1,500 jobs by the end of the year, as new CEO Rich Kruger forges ahead with his mandate to reduce costs and improve the company's lagging financial performance.
Mayor, councillor clash during discussion about Calgary's social procurement program
Half a decade after it was pitched at city council, Calgary's strategy to partially evaluate suppliers on social policies is leading to a majority of contracts going to small or medium-sized businesses or groups that have diverse representation.
A standup start to National Indigenous History Month at the Calgary Public Library
If the celebration of Indigenous people and culture starts with a day or a month, Sherry Mckay is fine with that -- it could be what helps others get over their apprehensions.
Northern Alberta residents stay back to help protect community from wildfire
Mike Mercredi is staying back to protect his northern Alberta community from a nearby wildfire after hundreds of people were forced to evacuate the area.
Krispy Kreme planning Alberta expansion, starting in Edmonton
Krispy Kreme will soon have a drive-thru and dine-in location in the Alberta capital, and that's just the beginning, the global doughnut giant and a local developer announced Thursday.
'A seat for everyone': Leduc kicks off 2023 Pride week
Pride week is officially underway in Leduc.
Multiple 'serious assaults' on Downtown Eastside, Vancouver police say
The Vancouver Police Department says an investigation is underway after multiple "serious assaults "on the city's Downtown Eastside Thursday.
Surrey Memorial Hospital crisis: Fraser Health asks other regions for staff
On the heels of a series of town halls with staff, Fraser Health is assessing its hospital network to see who can spare staff for Surrey Memorial Hospital, while asking other health authorities for help.
B.C. seniors face long waits for housing amid affordability crisis
A Musqueam elder who welcomed CTV News into his deteriorating home in late April has yet to move, saying he hasn’t been given options for a place to go that are adequate.