Man acquitted in decades old murder
Published Monday, June 4, 2012 5:07PM MDT
A man charged with murdering a female cab driver more than 30 years ago was acquitted Monday.
Robert James Fletcher, 52, was charged with first-degree murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping and possession of an offensive weapon in connection with a 1981 homicide of 33-year-old Gerdina Kruidbos.
On Monday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Doreen Sulyma acquitted Fletcher of those charges.
The judge found there to be reasonable doubt in the case.
A doctor had said the 17 stab wounds in the chest of Kruidbos were likely made by a left-handed person. Fletcher is right-handed.
A witness had also stated that two men were seen in the front of the taxi that night. A second man has never been found.
As well, no murder weapon has been found or linked to Fletcher.
"It's been hanging over his head for a couple of years now," said David Paull, Fletcher's lawyer.
"He's happy with the outcome. He wants to get on with his life, maybe turn things around and maybe give back to the community a little bit."
On December 4, 1981, Kruidbos was found dead in her taxi cab in the area of 144 Avenue and 72 Street.
Police say she had last picked up a male at the Continental Inn at 16625 Stony Plain Road the night before she was found dead.
Police were able to determine that Kruidbos had been sexually assaulted and died from multiple stab wounds.
The Crown now has 30 days to appeal the acquittal.
With files from David Ewasuk