Man charged in senior's death pleads guilty to manslaughter, sexual assault
Published Friday, February 8, 2013 1:33PM MST Last Updated Friday, February 8, 2013 6:34PM MST
The man charged in the sexual assault and death of an elderly woman in May 2011, pleaded guilty to lesser charges on Friday.
Marvin Arthur Witzaney, of Edmonton, was charged with second-degree murder and aggravated sexual assault in the death of an 84-year-old woman at a senior’s home in May 2011.
At a plea bargain on Friday, Witzaney pleaded guilty to five counts including two original break-and-enter related counts, and three lesser charges.
Witzaney pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
He also pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual assault, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm.
In May 2011, a suite at the Edmonton Chinese Seniors Lodge was broken into, and an elderly woman was assaulted.
She later died in hospital and police ruled the death a homicide.
At court on Friday, an agreed statement of facts detailed the night Witzaney tried to break into the seniors' residence.
He was initially scared away, but later returned, breaking into the room of an 84-year-old through the window of the suite.
Witzaney admitted to sexually assaulting the woman, who was taken to hospital for her injuries which included cuts to her head. The woman died eight days after the assault.
"This is an elderly Canadian who worked hard and ended up, her life in such a brutal, cruel, fashion," said Ruth Maria Adria, with Elder Advocates of Alberta Society.
"The wheels of justice grind very slowly. We have attended every time he was arraigned. There just has been no justice until now."
Maria Adria says the troubling case highlights a need for better protection at seniors' homes, especially in the downtown area.
"There's no requirement for security to be on-site," she said. "Often there isn't even a manager. These vulnerable, vulnerable people are totally abandoned."
A sentencing hearing will take place in April.
With files from Bill Fortier