Wednesday 13 December 2000
Dell confided to inmate she killed husband, trial hears
They were getting high at detention centre when accused confessed, witness saysPeter Hum
The Ottawa Citizen
Brandy Cameron shared more than a bunk bed in jail with Cherrylle Dell.
Ms. Cameron testified yesterday that while she was in custody at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, Mrs. Dell confided to her over an after-dinner treat of hashish that she had killed her husband.
"It was phrased to me, 'I put antifreeze in his wine,' " Ms. Cameron said.
Mrs. Dell, a 46-year-old Killaloe woman, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the Dec. 29, 1995, death of her estranged husband, Scott. Mr. Dell, 44, died from antifreeze poisoning, and his death was originally thought to be a suicide. Mrs. Dell was arrested and charged in December 1997.
Ms. Cameron said she met Mrs. Dell in the spring of 1998, on her first day at the detention centre following her conviction for a number of cheque frauds.
The two women were housed in a 10-bed dormitory, and court heard that Mrs. Dell was kind to Ms. Cameron on their first meeting.
"She offered me her bunk," Ms. Cameron said.
She said she got along fine with Mrs. Dell, who was known in jail as "Angel."
"I stuck up for her on more than one occasion when she was being mistreated," Ms. Cameron said.
She said Mrs. Dell had been in a relationship with an inmate who was "the ruler of the roost" and who later made her life difficult.
One night, as Ms. Cameron and Mrs. Dell were getting high, Mrs. Dell spoke of her husband's death, court heard. Mrs. Dell said her husband had cancer and "she would just help him on his way," Ms. Cameron said.
Ms. Cameron said she asked Mrs. Dell whether her husband had beaten her. Mrs. Dell said he did not, court heard.
Mrs. Dell also spoke of the death of her former lover, Nancy Fillmore, Ms. Cameron said.
Ms. Fillmore, 39, died in a fire on Aug. 19, 1997.
Five months earlier, Ms. Fillmore, who was Mrs. Dell's lover when Mr. Dell died, had given a statement to police about Mr. Dell's death.
Mrs. Dell faces a murder charge in connection with the death of Ms. Fillmore. So, too, does a Killaloe teenager.
According to Ms. Cameron, Mrs. Dell said her "girlfriend ... had to be taken care of."
Ms. Cameron said Mrs. Dell mentioned a "young boy" in connection with the fire. Mrs. Dell then said the boy "would do anything for her," court heard.
Mrs. Dell snickered as she spoke of the boy, Ms. Cameron said. "It was common knowledge that she didn't much care for men at that time."
The Crown is seeking to have the teenager compelled to testify this week at the trial of Mrs. Dell. But Glen Price, the teenager's lawyer, yesterday spoke against the Crown's efforts, arguing it was unfair to force his client to testify when it could be used to assail his credibility at his own trial.
Ms. Cameron said she did not want to speak to police about her conversations with Mrs. Dell.
She said she refused to answer police phone calls and only spoke to them when they cornered her during her meeting with her probation officer.
"I don't want to be here today," she said. "I'm only here to tell the truth because I don't believe any more that people should be getting away with things like this."
The trial, which began Nov. 20, resumes today with the cross-examination of Ms. Cameron.
Copyright 2001 Ottawa Citizen Group Inc.