A P.E.I. man who killed his former girlfriend in 2015 and covered her in a pile of debris has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Joel Lawrence Clow entered the plea before Justice Terri MacPherson in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown Tuesday where he appeared alongside his lawyer.
As he stood at the defence table, his hair tied back in a short pony tail, Clow responded by saying “sure do” as MacPherson asked him several questions and whether he understood the consequences of his plea.
Clow was initially charged with the first-degree murder of Traci Lynn Lynch in Pleasant Grove and went to trial after pleading not guilty.
In 2017, Justice Nancy Key found Clow guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.
Clow appealed Key’s decision and earlier this year the P.E.I. Court of Appeal sent the matter back to the Supreme Court for a new trial.
In the appeal court’s decision, Justice John Mitchell wrote that based on several errors Key made he believed it was unsafe to uphold the guilty verdict.
At the nine-day trial, Clow admitted his actions caused Lynch’s death in the early hours of July 24, 2015 in Pleasant Grove, but the defence argued he didn’t have the necessary intent to kill her for it to be considered murder.
The police found Lynch’s body on Clow’s property in a wheelbarrow covered with several items, including a blanket, a pillow, a tarp, fishing tubs and a rain slicker.
An autopsy found Lynch was beaten and had injuries to her face, torso, neck, back and extremities.
She died of strangulation and a blunt-force blow to the head.
During the trial, Key reviewed 62 exhibits and heard testimony from 25 witnesses.
That included evidence about Clow’s drug and alcohol use on the night of Lynch’s death.
Analysis of a blood sample take from Clow found alcohol, methamphetamine, THC, a cocaine metabolite and a sedative.
One expert witness the defence called testified it was his opinion Clow could have been experiencing a drug-induced psychotic state while another said he would have been “grossly intoxicated” when Lynch died.
With Clow’s guilty plea, MacPherson adjourned the matter until Monday when the lawyers for both sides will make their submissions on a sentence.