POLITICS

Supreme Court won't hear convicted murderer's appeal of town hall killing

08/02/2012 09:56 EDT | Updated 10/02/2012 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear the appeal of a Quebec man convicted of killing the manager of a small town east of Montreal.

Robert Godbout was convicted of first-degree murder in the January 2009 death of Renee Vaudreuil.

Her body was found in the debris after a fire destroyed the town hall in Saint-Remi-de-Tingwick, about 170 kilometres east of Montreal.

The pathology report showed Vaudreuil had been shot twice with a .410-calibre firearm and struck repeatedly in the head with a blunt object.

Godbout had been embroiled in a legal dispute with the town over his bid to open a petting zoo in the playground of an abandoned school.

The town got an injunction from the Quebec Superior Court ordering Godbout to remove the llamas, alpacas and goats he kept in the playground, which he appealed.

On the morning of the murder, the Quebec Court of Appeal refused to hear Godbout's case.

Godbout denied killing Vaudreuil and said he never owned a gun, but did admit to going by the town hall the day of the murder.

Police searched his home and the crime scene but found no physical evidence connecting him to the killing.

Quebec Superior Court, while noting the evidence was purely circumstantial, convicted him of first-degree murder based on his presence at the town hall around the time of the killing and his possible motive.

Godbout's lawyer Mylene Lareau declined to comment on Thursday's decision, while Crown prosecutor Jean-Francois Bouvette said he was satisfied with the ruling.

"My thoughts go to the family of the victim Renee Vaudreuil, who lost their loved one in this human tragedy," Bouvette said in an email.

"It is sad that she was murdered for a litigation concerning the operation of a zoo. Nobody should be subjected to such a tragic end of their life."