Smeltzer guilty of first-degree murder of Emilie Maheu

The Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A Nova Scotia man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2018 killing of Emilie Maheu.

In her 40-page ruling that took nearly two-and-a-half hours to deliver Monday, Judge Laurie Lacelle found Crown attorneys Elaine Evans and Isabel Blanchard proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt that 27-year-old Brandon Smeltzer deliberately planned to kill the 26-year-old mother of his child.

The verdict followed a five week trial.

The couple’s relationship deteriorated and Smeltzer grew “jealous, hurt and angry” that Maheu had a new mate in her life, plus that she planned to seek full custody of their daughter.

Court heard how Smeltzer picked up Maheu who believed she was going to the bank with him to pay off her credit card debt. Instead, he drove her to a back country road near Lancaster and threw her in the trunk of his car, strangled her with his bare hands and then shot her twice with a sawed-off shotgun at close range.

Smeltzer then drove his car with the body in the trunk to Nova Scotia with a plan to kill himself with Maheu’s body by his side so they could “be a family again.” That didn’t happen and he drove back to Ontario where he dumped the body in a cornfield.

Judge Lacelle did not accept the defence argument that this was a spur of the moment killing by a “panicked person.” An example of premeditation and planning, Lacelle says a panicked person wouldn’t have driven through three provinces between Ontario and Nova Scotia with ample locations to dispose of the body.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 5 where the court is expected to hear roughly 10 victim impact statements. With a first-degree murder conviction, Smeltzer faces an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

Maheu’s daughter is being cared for by her family.