The police dog unit searches the perimeter of the Sundance Suites after a body was located July 19, 2017. (Morning Star file photo)

Not guilty plea entered in North Okanagan murder trial

Woman pleads guilty to lesser charge of being a party to manslaughter in July 2017 death

A Vernon woman has entered a guilty plea, but to a lesser charge, in connection with the death of a man at the Sundance Apartments, back in July 2017.

Jacqueline Nicole Leavins, born in 1978, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of second degree murder at the beginning of her trial in Vernon Supreme Court on Monday, Aug. 17. She then entered a plea of guilty to the lesser charge of being a party to manslaughter in connection with the death of Vernon resident, William Frederick Bartz.

“You’re admitting to being a party to the killing of Mr. Bartz,” Madam Justice Alison Beames told Leavins, who appeared via video conference.

Bartz lived in the Sundance Apartments, off 43rd Avenue and 29th Street, and was found dead inside his unit on July 19, 2017.

Leavins will be sentenced Dec. 10. Pre-sentence and psychiatric reports have been requested.

Leavins and Richard William Fairgrieve were arrested in October 2018 and each charged with murder in connection to Bartz’s death.

Fairgrieve was declared unfit to stand trial back in January of this year. If he is found fit to stand, at some later time, the BC Prosecution Service will resume the prosecution against him for the murder charge.

But following a stroke, “he may never be fit,” Beames said.

READ MORE: Suspicious death ruled homicide

READ MORE: Vernon murder suspect awaits bail hearing



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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A Vernon woman has entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of being a party to a manslaughter in connection with the death of a man inside a Vernon apartment in July 2019. (Morning Star - file photo)

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