A Mission man had an appeal of his first-degree murder conviction dismissed in the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver on Tuesday.
Jamie Robert Kokotailo, 47, was convicted by a jury in August 2009 of fatally stabbing his wife, Lori Lynn Elaine Kokotailo on Dec. 1, 2002. It was his second trial, after his first conviction in 2005 was overturned and a new trial ordered.
Kokotailo received an automatic life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years.
At his latest appeal hearing, Kokotailo’s lawyer argued that the judge in the second trial failed to give proper instructions to the jury regarding the issue of intent.
The judge in that trial inferred that “sane and sober persons intend the natural and probable consequences of their acts,” according to court documents.
“His (Kokotailo’s) principal argument is that such an instruction should not be given when an accused is unable to recall what his or her intention was at the relevant time.”
Kokotailo has maintained that he was provoked by his wife and didn’t know what he was doing at the time of the stabbing.
Lori was stabbed nine times in the bedroom of the couple’s Tanaka Terrace home in Mission. Portions of the incident were witnessed by two of her four daughters.
Lori was killed the night she returned from Seattle, where she was having an affair that Kokotailo said he had found out about the day before through an email he discovered.
In his evidence, Kokotailo said he wanted the marriage to continue and did not intend to kill Lori. He said he began to choke her when she made insulting remarks that enraged him, and testified that his next memory was of getting up off the floor and seeing her holding a diving knife.
A struggle ensued, and Kokotailo said he then recalled seeing blood everywhere. He admitted stabbing her, but that he did not remember doing so.
The Crown alleged that Kokotailo had known about the affair for several days prior to the incident, and had planned the murder.
Duct tape, a baseball bat and the murder weapon found in the bedroom were pointed to as evidence of his intentions.
A first-degree murder conviction requires proof that planning and deliberation were involved in the killing.
The three-judge appeal court panel were in agreement that the trial judge did not err in his instructions to the jury, and the appeal should be dismissed.
“Based on the charge as a whole, the jury would not have been left in any doubt that it was required to consider all of the evidence,” said Justice David Frankel in the written ruling.
The full ruling can be found here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/CA/11/04/2011BCCA0465.htm