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Charles Mustard found guilty of 2nd-degree murder of Toronto woman, almost 30 years later

Charles Mustard, 69, was arrested in 2018 in connection with a 25-year-old cold case investigation into the 1993 stabbing death of Barbara Brodkin. A judge found him guilty of second-degree murder on Friday. (Toronto Police Service - image credit)
Charles Mustard, 69, was arrested in 2018 in connection with a 25-year-old cold case investigation into the 1993 stabbing death of Barbara Brodkin. A judge found him guilty of second-degree murder on Friday. (Toronto Police Service - image credit)

Charles Mustard has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Toronto woman Barbara Brodkin — a case that had once been considered cold for 25 years.

Mustard was arrested back in 2018, and charged in connection with Brodkin's 1993 stabbing death. Justice Brian O'Marra handed down his decision at the judge-alone trial in Ontario Superior Court Friday.

Mustard, 69, appeared shocked when he heard the conviction, and kept repeating, "I did not kill Barbara" as he was led away in handcuffs.

Brodkin, who was 41 at the time of her murder, was found dead in her apartment shortly before 8 a.m. on March 19 of that year. Police had gotten a 911 call from her six-year-old son, who had discovered her body.

Police said at the time that a quantity of cash and marijuana was missing from the apartment, and they believed that Brodkin may have been the victim of a robbery.

Toronto Police Service
Toronto Police Service

During a 2018 news conference, police said that during the months that followed the murder, investigators examined evidence, canvassed for witnesses and interviewed over 100 people.

But the killer was never identified and the case went cold — until 24 years after her death when additional forensic tests were conducted on some of the evidence gathered at the scene.

Mustard, who was 37 and a family acquaintance at the time of the murder, was previously known to police. He testified at trial his DNA was transferred to Brodkin through saliva on a joint they had smoked.

But O'Marra rejected that evidence, finding Mustard's DNA was left under Brodkin's fingernails when she fought for her life while being beaten, strangled and stabbed in the heart.

CBC
CBC

Hours before police arrested Mustard in 2018, they had asked him to come to headquarters to sign papers on an unrelated matter. Investigators had placed large cold case posters of Brodkin in the lobby and videotaped Mustard's reaction.

He testified that at the time he didn't know who she was.

O'Marra said Mustard would have recognized Brodkin, whom he had often visited to buy marijuana, and described his testimony as a "blatant lie."

Mustard's lawyer said his client is considering an appeal. A sentencing hearing is set for March 13.