Calgary woman convicted of murder in 2003 testifies faint hope at hearing
When Nancy McKinnon murdered her estranged husband in 2003, she said she was a “terrible person,” but the 52-year-old mother of three, amid her faint hope, testified Tuesday that she had changed in prison and is now “proud “ to the woman she has become.
In 2004, McKinnon and her then-boyfriend Joey Bruso were convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Nick Maradyn. The couple was sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole for 25 years.
McKinnon’s hearing of faint hope began Tuesday when she is addressing a jury to allow her to apply for parole before that 25-year eligibility period.
McKinnon was 33 years old at the time of the murder. She has spent the last 19 years and seven months in prison.
The Law of Faint Hope was abolished
As it stands, McKinnon is eligible for parole in June 2025 and parole in June 2028.
These types of motions were abolished by Parliament back in 2011, but those convicted before the law was changed can still apply after at least 15 years.
It is likely that McKinnon will be one of the last Calgarians to go before a jury for such an application.
After making an opening statement, defense attorney James McLeod called McKinnon as his first witness.
‘I am guilty’
McKinnon says it took a decade but she accepted responsibility for her role in Maradyn’s death.
“I’m guilty,” she told the jury. “I started the ball rolling and it’s all my fault.”
In 2003, McKinnon and Maradyn were in the midst of a divorce.
In her statement Tuesday, McKinnon said Maradyn was abusive and assaulted her eldest son in the months leading up to his death.
McKinnon dated several men in 2003.
Before meeting Bruso, McKinnon expressed her desire to have Maradyn killed to other friends, telling them he was violent and molesting them. One man testified at her trial that she offered to pay him part of the insurance if he killed Maradyn.
McKinnon tried to frame others
Bruso and McKinnon had only been together a few weeks when they hatched their plan.
On June 14, 2003, McKinnon and Bruso lured Maradyn to a secluded location off Highway 2A near Crossfield. When he arrived, Bruso shot him with a recently purchased high-powered hunting rifle.
Almost immediately, McKinnon attempted to collect Maradyn’s life and mortgage insurance.
Two weeks later, she and Bruso were arrested for murder.
While awaiting trial, McKinnon — who was being held at the Calgary Remand Center — wrote letters to friends and family, trying to get them to help her fabricate evidence and frame others for the murder.
“Work on me”
McKinnon described her life at the time of the murder as “chaotic”.
“Looking back, I was a terrible person,” McKinnon said. “I used people, I manipulated them.”
“I worked on myself to be a better person.”
According to an agreed statement of facts, McKinnon had an “outstanding professional record” during her time in prison. She also testified that she worked with psychologists to come to terms with who she was and who she wants to be.
McKinnon says she has only been in contact with one of her sons, but says she will “never stop hoping” to reconnect with the other two.
Prosecutor Shane Parker began cross-examining McKinnon Tuesday afternoon and will continue questioning her Wednesday.