A woman who stabbed and beat a St. Albert man to death, then moved his body in a storage bin before dumping it in a rural area, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison.
In June, a jury found 34-year-old Beryl Musila guilty of first-degree murder in the 2017 death of Ronald Worsfold, 75.
The conviction carries an automatic life sentence without eligibility for parole for 25 years. But Musila will have six years credited to that period because she has been in custody since her arrest in July 2017. She will become eligible for parole in about 19 years.
Musila was also sentenced to 2½ years for indecent interference with human remains, to be served concurrently.
In his sentencing decision, Court of King's Bench Justice Larry Ackerl noted that Musila had multiple diagnosed mental health issues, and was struggling with a drug addiction at the time.
But, he said: "She took multiple and deliberate steps calculated to hide her involvement in the murder. She's highly morally blameworthy."
Outside the Edmonton Law Courts Thursday, Worsfold's daughter said it's a relief to see the conclusion of the case.
"I remember him every morning when the blue jays come to get their peanuts. I remember him every time we have a thunderstorm, because we used to sit on his balcony and watch the lightning," Stacey Worsfold said.
"His memory is so many places that we visit on a daily basis."
Stacey Worsfold, left, and other family members of Ronald Worsfold, speak outside the Edmonton Law Courts after Beryl Musila was sentenced for first-degree murder in the 75-year-old man's killing. (Madeline Smith/CBC)
A six-year legal process
At the time of the murder, Musila was a tenant in the apartment building Worsfold managed, and had moved into his unit.
Crown prosecutors Patricia Hankinson and John Schmidt argued that the evidence showed Musila drugged Worsfold with Ativan and then panicked, fearing he'd overdosed.
They said Musila then decided to kill Worsfold by stabbing him with a knife and beating him with a hammer. She put his body in a storage tub and moved it several times before leaving it on a rural property.
Beryl Musila, 34, testified in her own defence at her first-degree murder trial. (Amanda McRoberts)
Musila's evidence was that someone else killed Worsfold and that she was set up to take the blame. She admitted to the indecent interference with human remains charge, which was related to transporting Worsfold's body.
She made several claims about the night of Worsfold's death, including that she caught an unknown person breaking into the apartment suite, and that someone else removed bloody sheets and clothing from the scene where the older man was killed while she was asleep.
The trial was repeatedly scheduled and cancelled as Musila went through several defence lawyers that she subsequently fired, or who removed themselves from the record.
Musila represented herself during a nine-week jury trial this year, at one point cross-examining Worsfold's daughter.
After her conviction, Musila requested another defence lawyer, and Caitlin Dick was appointed to represent her. When Dick asked for more time to prepare for sentencing submissions, the end of the case was delayed again.
'A much-loved and valued human being'
On Wednesday, Worsfold's family members and friends read victim impact statements in court. They described a gentle, caring man who loved classic cars and home-cooked meals, and was known for helping others in his St. Albert community.
Stacey Worsfold said her father should be remembered for more than the details of his death.
"He is not just fingernail clippings, blood stains or a body in a tote being dragged across locations," she said.
"He was a much-loved and valued human being … the real person and true victim of this event."
Ronald Worsfold's family members outside the Edmonton Law Courts earlier this year. (Madeleine Cummings/CBC)
Musila watched from the prisoner's box, showing little expression as each person spoke.
Kyla Mandrusiak told the court about how she saw Worsfold as an uncle. She got to know him through her mother, who worked with him for more than 30 years at a local gas station.
"When Ron was killed, it changed everything.… I thought the world stopped for a while. When it started again, it was a much darker place," she said.
She turned to face Musila as she finished her statement.
"I cannot forgive you, and will not."