Ottawa Citizen
Tuesday 28 November 2000

Accused killer intently watches tape of herself

Dell appears captivated as police statement replayed in court

Peter Hum
The Ottawa Citizen

PEMBROKE -- When police told Cherrylle Dell in April 1997 they were investigating the death more than a year earlier of her husband Scott, she had two words for them.

"You are?" Mrs. Dell said.

Mr. Dell, she said, had seen his throat cancer come out of remission and had refused to see a doctor in the weeks before his death.

"He said he wanted to stay home. He wanted to die on the farm," Mrs. Dell told police.

Mrs. Dell watched from the prisoner's box as the video of her interview more than 40 months ago was played at her first-degree murder trial. The 46-year-old Killaloe woman has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the Dec. 29, 1995 death of her estranged spouse.

Mr. Dell, then 44, was found to have died after drinking wine laced with antifreeze and his death was originally thought to have been a suicide. Pembroke Crown attorney Peter Barnes hopes to convince Ontario Superior Court Justice James Chadwick otherwise -- that Mrs. Dell planned and carried out her husband's murder, duping him into drinking the poisoned wine.

While Mrs. Dell has appeared sullen in court, and occasionally even bored during legal submissions, she at times sat at the edge of her seat to watch the scene from her past.

Speaking to police over two hours, Mrs. Dell was an animated interviewee, talking at length and sounding much younger than her age. Her laughter at times tended toward a cackle, even as police interviewed her about her husband's death, criminal allegations against her, and the relationship she had with a woman court has heard was her lesbian lover.

Mrs. Dell told police she was talking to her husband on the phone on the last night of his life, he slurring his words and she sitting at her home with a cast on her leg (months earlier, she had injured herself while skateboarding). At one point, Mr. Dell told his wife her "angel spirit" was there with him at his farmhouse, Mrs. Dell told police.

"I thought he was drunk or something," she continued.

Copyright 2000 Ottawa Citizen