Man charged in New Year’s Eve slaying pleads guilty
Published Tuesday, December 18, 2012 5:48PM MST Last Updated Tuesday, December 18, 2012 7:00PM MST
Months after he was charged in the slaying and partial dismemberment of a woman in a downtown apartment on New Year’s Eve – Joshua Houle pleaded guilty in court.
On Tuesday in an Edmonton courtroom, the 28-year-old pleaded guilty to manslaughter and offering an indignity to a human body in the death of Misty Ward, 27 on December 31, 2011.
In an agreed statement of facts, court heard that Houle had warned his long-time friend Ward that he could be violent if suddenly awoken.
On that night, Ward woke him up – and Houle grabbed a knife and stabbed her in the neck.
Houle tried to stop the bleeding, and he put her in the bathtub where she died, at which point Houle panicked and began dismembering her body.
The statement of facts said Houle eventually fell asleep while water overflowed from the bathtub.
The slaying was discovered when water started leaking into rooms below Houle’s apartment – the building manager recounted what he saw in an interview with CTV News not long after the murder took place.
Luis Alvarado said at the time that he cleaned up the leak, but it continued - when it became clear to him he was not dealing with a normal leak.
“We’d seen it before, but it was red in colour,” Alvarado said. “[It was] really obvious it wasn’t just a normal leak.”
Alvarado then went to the suite where the leak was coming from.
"[I] went up there, [and I knocked], all I could hear was running water and loud music, knock knock again, [my manager] Simon said just enter the unit,
"I opened the door about 5 or 6 inches, and right there was lots of blood on the wall – shoes were scattered around,
"Right there, I closed the door."
Alvarado then called police, and let them into the suite.
On Tuesday, Houle was given a chance to speak before being led away – he said in part that he understood what he did hurt a lot of people, but added that he hoped he’d learn to forgive himself the way others have forgiven him.
The Crown is asking for a sentence of 10 years, the defence is asking for 8 years.
Houle will be sentenced on Jan. 29.
With files from David Ewasuk