Globe and Mail

Housewife convicted of poisoning estranged husband

Globe and Mail Update
The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 02, 2001

Cherrylle Dell

A housewife and one-time stripper who often wished vocally for her estranged husband's death and ended up poisoning him with a toxic bottle of wine laced with antifreeze, was convicted Friday of first-degree murder.

Cherrylle Dell of Killaloe, Ont., tricked her husband Scott, 44, into drinking the lethal cocktail in December 1995.

During the trial, Crown attorney Peter Barnes portrayed Ms. Dell as the village vamp who had so much control over her husband she was able to convince him to take what he thought was homemade wine as a gift.

Ms. Dell spoke with her estranged husband for hours on the phone so that he wouldn't seek medical attention for the effects of the poison, Mr. Barnes argued in the trial's closing arguments.

Ms. Dell "had an ulterior motive," Mr. Barnes said. "To keep him talking... stop him from phoning the hospital."

Several months before he died, Ms. Dell, 46, spoke of wanting him dead and even mentioned hiring a hitman, Mr. Barnes reminded the court.

During the trial, Gay Doherty, the first woman for whom Ms. Dell had left her husband, testified that Ms. Dell bought some waxy material and made a doll in likeness of her husband: "this voodoo thing," Ms. Doherty called it.

She watched Ms. Dell wrap the doll in ropes and ribbons and stick pins it, and chant over it, and then, Ms. Doherty said, "I think she buried it."

When Ms. Dell discovered that her estranged husband was diagnosed with cancer, Ms. Doherty testified that she always thought it was "the answer to Cherrylle's prayers." She told the court, "I think she was eager for him to die."

After her cat died of antifreeze poisoning in the fall of 1995, she phoned an emergency hotline and asked how much antifreeze would be needed to kill a human.

The defence argued Mr. Dell was a lovesick, beaten-down man who had committed suicide and that the 50 crown witnesses who spoke of Ms. Dell's confessions and hatred for her husband are unreliable.

Ms. Dell will return to court to face a second charge of first-degree murder, in connection with the August 1997 fire that killed another of her ex-lovers, Nancy Fillmore.

A teenage friend of Ms. Dell's, Brent Crawford, 19, is also facing a first-degree murder charge in Ms. Fillmore's death.

With reports from The Globe and Mail's Erin Anderssen and Canadian Press

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