Calgary Sun

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Guilty plea ahead

No word on what charges Fujii will admit to in deaths

By KEVIN MARTIN, Calgary Sun

 Double-murder suspect Rie Fujii will plead guilty in July to charges relating to the deaths of her two children, her lawyer said yesterday.

But defence counsel Bob Batting was mum when asked what charges his client will be admitting.

"I anticipate that there's going to be a resolution of the charges by way of guilty plea," Batting said on the courthouse steps, moments after a brief appearance by his client.

"I don't think it would be appropriate to go further than what I've stated."

Minutes earlier, Fujii sat quietly in the prisoner's box as Batting and Crown prosecutor Larry Stein set her case down for a two-day trial beginning July 3.

Batting told Associate Chief Justice Allen Sulatycky that although the case is currently scheduled to be heard by a jury, it will go before a judge sitting alone.

"I anticipate re-electing on July 3," Batting said.

Fujii, 23, faces two charges of second-degree murder in connection with the death of her son, Domenic Brown, and disappearance of his younger sister, Gemini.

The Japanese national was arrested after the corpse of her 15-month-old son was found June 6 in apartment 203 at 126 14 Ave. S.E., which had been deserted. She's also charged with killing three-month-old Gemini, although the infant's body has never been found. Batting would not say if his client plans to plea to the allegations she faces, or to reduced charges.

"I'm not prepared to discuss what the plea will be to," he said.

He said the hearing has been set for two days because testimony might have to be given.

"There may be expert evidence called," said Batting, refusing to elaborate. He said Fujii, who has been confined since her arrest, hasn't fared well behind bars.

"My client, by the time that we'll appear (in July) she'll have been in custody for a year in virtual isolation," Batting said. "So considering what she's going through, she's faring as well as can be expected."

A second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without parole for a minimum 10 years.

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