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Musila sentencing begins with indignity to human remains arguments

Sentencing arguments have begun for Beryl Musila who was found guilty of the first degree murder and causing an indignity to the body of Alberta senior, Ronald Worsfold.
St. Albert resident Beryl Musila is cross-examined by Crown prosecutor John Schmidt on the stand in Justice Larry Ackerl's Court of King's Bench. AMANDA MCROBERTS/File

Beryl Musila’s sentencing began today with arguments about an appropriate sentence for Musila’s treatment of Ronald Worsfold’s body, and will be dealing with the sentencing for the murder conviction later this week. 

Crown prosecutors Patricia Hankinson and Jason Schmidt argued for a 2.5 year sentence for Musila’s mishandling of Worsfold’s remains — the charge, under section 182 of the Criminal Code, carries a five-year maximum — but newly appointed defence lawyer Caitlin Dick said her client wanted a six-month reduction. At the outset of the trial that started this spring, Musila pleaded guilty to indecently interfering with Worsfold's remains, but maintained her not-guilty plea in his death. After a nine-week jury trial where Musila was self-represented, she was found guilty of first-degree murder in Worsfold's death. 

Dick argued that because of an earlier arbitrary detention, Musila’s Charter rights had been violated and Musila was owed the remedy of a lighter sentence.

Musila duct-taped Worsfold’s ankles and loaded him into a tote container that she took with her to various locations in Edmonton, Morinville and St. Albert. Eventually, Musila moved the container to a friend’s rural property near Devon and asked her friends, who did not know it contained a body, to help her take the container to a nearby burn pit.

Dick said that Musila urged the court to find that Robert Rafters, Musila’s boyfriend at the time of Worsfold’s death, assisted Musila with moving Worsfold’s body.

Musila claimed that she did not direct the container that carried Worsfold’s body into the farm truck that was used to drive Worsfold’s remains to the burn pit.

Crown prosecutors argued that aggravating factors, such as the fact that Worsfold was murdered, should be considered in the sentencing.

The sentencing will continue tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Sentencing for Worsfold’s murder will begin on Wednesday, when the court will hear victim impact statements from Worsfold’s family and friends.


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