Toronto Sun

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Spouse: I didn't kill wife

Couple battled over mortgage

By SAM PAZZANO, COURTS BUREAU
TORONTO SUN

The common-law spouse of a woman found dead at her Toronto office testified he's innocent in her death, which occurred a day after she hit him and demanded he hand over his interest in their house.

Ray Duguay, 43, told the jury he "had nothing to do with" the slaying of his girlfriend of three years, Luzmila Contreras.

Duguay described his tumultuous last day with Contreras, who assaulted him with her nails and a stick at their Robinglade Dr. home on July 30, 1999.

The day started with that violent confrontation and ended with the couple making love at night. The next morning she performed oral sex on Duguay, he told the jury.

Semen samples belonging to Duguay and Jason Colson -- her accused killer -- were found on her body, Crown attorneys John Scutt and Susan Lee said.

NOT GUILTY PLEA

Colson, 25, has pleaded not guilty to the July 31, 1999, first-degree murder of Contreras, 46, a mother of three and a paralegal who specialized in immigration work.

Colson had worked in Contreras' building as a handyman from November 1998 through January 1999, but she moved into the building after he had stopped working there, Scutt said.

WANTED HOUSE

Duguay said Contreras was "upset because she wanted me to sign off my share of the house to her." He said he had been laid off from his job of 13 years the month before her death.

Contreras had filed for bankruptcy and needed her boyfriend, Duguay, and her mother, Luzmila, to co-sign for the home's mortgage, the jury heard.

"I loved her. I didn't contribute to the down payment but I paid monthly. I didn't want to (do as she asked) and she started grabbing me by the forearms."

Her nails left marks on his arms and Duguay bolted for a nearby public library because "I didn't want to hear that kind of discussion," he testified.

The flare-up continued and Contreras struck him in the chest and then in the back with a stick, Duguay told the jury.

"I don't believe in violence. Luzmila later explained she was getting pressure from her older kids (to transfer title)," Duguay said.

The trial continues.

Copyright © 2002, Canoe, a division of Netgraphe Inc.