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Ontario man testifies in his own defence at trial for 1998 Sudbury murder


The man on trial for the 1998 murder of Renee Sweeney took the stand Monday afternoon to testify in his own defence.

Robert Steven Wright was questioned by his attorney, Michael Lacy, for about an hour Monday afternoon.

The Crown began its cross-examination before the court adjourned for the day around 3 p.m.

Wright expected to complete his testimony Tuesday.

CTV News Northern Ontario digital content producer Darren MacDonald and video journalist Ian Campbell are in the courtroom and have been following the trial. They will have details of Wright’s testimony later Monday. Check back for updates.

Catch up on everything that has happened in the trial so far here. He is charged with second-degree murder in Sweeney’s stabbing death on Jan. 27, 1998, while she worked as a clerk at an Adults Only Video store in Sudbury.


Lacy has told jurors that Wright won’t deny he was at the video store the morning of the murder. However, he denies he was responsible for her death and has pleaded not guilty.

The Crown largely completed its case last week, introducing evidence linking DNA taken from Sweeney’s fingernails and associated debris to Wright.

His fingerprints were also found on the cash tray at the store, one in a right change slot on top of the tray, the second on the bottom left of the drawer.

Jurors also heard details last week of the investigation that led police to charge Wright with the crime in December 2018, 20 years after the fact.

Advances in DNA analysis allowed officials at the Centre for Forensic Sciences to identify a second person’s DNA from Sweeney’s fingernails.

A U.S. laboratory then offered to analyse the DNA to determine which family trees were most dominant. That analysis determined two family lines: the Secords and the McAllisters.

Police then worked with two people who had compiled extensive family trees for both the Secords and the McAllisters.

That led police to the Wright family in Greater Sudbury.

Full details about the Wright testimony on Monday 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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