Closing arguments were delivered in the murder trial of a St. Albert senior on Wednesday where the accused Beryl Musila made a case that she wasn’t the one who killed Ron Worsfold.
Instead Musila, who is on trial for first-degree murder, said the night Worsfold was killed, she saw someone in her apartment building but chased them out. Musila, 34, said she was set up on that fateful July night and some unknown individual killed Ronald Worsfold.
But the Crown claims Musila planned the murder, and then drugged Worsfold and beat him to death with a hammer.
On Wednesday morning the Crown and amicus counsel, Greg Worobec, delivered the closing remarks in the trial.
Worobec, gave the closing address for Musila, who represented herself through the trial. The role of the amicus is to assist the court and ensure Musila, who is self-representing, is given a fair trial.
After eight weeks of the trial a jury will start deliberations deciding if Musila is guilty in the death of Worsfold. At the outset of the trial Musila pleaded guilty to indignity to human remains but maintained her not-guilty plea in Worsfold’s death.
Worobec asked the jury to consider testimony from witnesses who knew about the relationship between Musila and Worsfold, siting one of the witnesses believed Musila thought of Worsfold as a father figure. Musila told police initially that the two were having sex and then later said they were just friends.
Worobec asked the jury to consider the July 7, 2017 surveillance video, the night Worsfold was killed, that showed Musila and Worsfold in a Source Adult. The duo were living together in the Mission neighbourhood of St. Albert at the time.
Worsfold is shown on the video buying items and Musila is shown carrying the items out of the store. Musila then drops Worsfold off at the apartment and leaves, alone, to a liquor store.
When Musila arrived back at the apartment they watched television, the accused said, and then both took Ativan and Worsfold went to sleep.
Musila said at some point in the evening she saw someone in the apartment building, chased them out of Worsfold’s unit and then found herself locked out.
Neighbour Tyler Cody Fisher testified during the trial that was having a cigarette on his third-floor balcony that night and saw Musila crying in the parking lot. The two went to Worsfold’s car to drink beers and do lines of cocaine, he testified.
Fisher then let Musila into the building where she invited him up to Worsfold’s suite. Fisher testified they engaged in a sex act in the living room, but Musila denied a sex act occurred.
Worobec said the Crown’s theory is that Worsfold was already dead when Fisher entered the suite, Worobec then asked the jury if Musila would have invited someone into the home after murdering Worsfold.
Worobec outlined inconsistencies with evidence regarding phone calls to Worsfold’s landline from Musila’s then-boyfriend, Robert Rafters. Phone records showed Rafters had made calls to the landline phone the night of the murder, but not all the calls were received. These anomalies were not acknowledged by the crown nor expert witnesses, said Worobec.
Musila said she discovered Worsfold was dead after his daughter, Stacey Worsfold, unexpectedly arrived at 11:00 a.m. the next morning, on July 8.
Musila said she packed her bags after Stacey Worsfold requested that she leave the apartment. A neighbour witnessed Rafters entering Worsfold’s apartment and observed boxes outside the apartment. Rafters has denied entering Worsfold’s apartment or knowing he had died. Rafters is facing no charges in the death of Worsfold.
Musila’s father eventually brought Musila the blue tote she used to hide Worsfold, although he testified he didn’t know the tote was being used to load Worsfold’s body.
In her testimony Musila admitted she and Rafters placed Worsfold in the container. Musila claims Rafter put handcuffs on Worsfold and Musila duct taped his feet.
Musila says Rafters then helped her move her boxes and the blue tote to a taxi.
Worobec asked the jury to consider the evidence of a surveillance video outside of a Morinville hotel which failed to capture a period of three minutes.
In the surveillance video Musila is shown moving her items out of a taxi and next to the hotel. Musila states during that three minute of video failure, items she had not packed, appeared with her stuff.
Worsfold’s body was eventually found on a rural property in Parkland County, where Musila had taken it after attending a party to celebrate the end of her friend’s parole.
Worobec said the jury may conclude these added items as evidence that supports her testimony that, “she was setup and walked blindly into that trap.”
Worobec also outlined evidence that the RCMP would not allow to be authorized for use in the trial and an iced tea beverage that did get approved for analysis did not show any drugs in the sample.
Worobec spoke of the unreliability of other witnesses and inconsistencies with their testimony and the testimony of police.
Worobec said the Crown suggests the motive Musila had for killing Worsfold was financial, but there was no evidence of that.
The Crown, said Worobec, is also suggesting Musila killed Worsfold because he overdosed.
“Why would Musila kill someone who had already overdosed,” he asked.
Worobec then reminded the jury that intent had to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
“If your consideration…leaves reasonable doubt, you must return a charge of not guilty for the charge,” he said.
The Crown’s case
Prosecutor John Schmidt outlined the Crown’s closing arguments and said throughout the trial Musila’s position has been that she is a victim of circumstance; however, the Crown believes she was the one making the decisions and tried to deflect blame.
Schmidt said the plan was set in motion when Musila drugged Worsfold with Ativan.
“Why? It doesn’t matter. It is enough to know it was a choice she made,” he said.
Musila believed Worsfold had overdosed, said Schmidt, and after, she planned to kill him. She then made the choice to hit him repeatedly with a hammer and stab him three times, including in the neck and the fatal abdominal wound.
When Stacey Worsfold arrived the next morning Musila chose to lie, she chose to load Worsfold’s body in a tote, she chose to take the tote containing Worsfold’s body to multiple places, and she chose to lie to police about his whereabouts, Schmidt said.
The Crown said Musila has agreed that she lied to Stacey on the morning of July 8 about Worsfold’s whereabouts and Musila also agreed that she lied to police about her knowledge of Worsfold’s whereabouts. Musila also testified she was the one who put Worsfold in the blue tote.
The Crown suggests, said Schmidt, there is no reasonable doubt Musila killed Worsfold, and he was already dead when Fisher was in the apartment with Musila as Musila told Fisher not to worry about Worsfold walking in on them as he was in Jasper.
Schmidt showed the jury photos of a stained mattress and carpet. He said from these photos one could infer Worsfold was killed on the mattress and when he was moved into the tote, his bodily fluids spilled onto the carpet.
Schmidt showed evidence of a piece of stained carpet, which one could infer was cut out in an attempt to hide evidence, was in a blue recycle bin of Musila’s stuff that was left at collected from Patrick Tansem-Reid’s property near Devon where Worsfold’s body was found.
Schmidt went over evidence the Crown had collected, including a knife handle with Musila’s DNA and a knife edge containing blood and DNA from Worsfold.
“Compare blade to handle when deliberating and these objects once formed a single knife,” he said.
The Crown also showed the jury a mallet hammer that had blood and DNA evidence from Worsfold, stained sheets, multiple scissors with blood and DNA from Worsfold, and a roll of duct tape that contained DNA from Musila.
Schmidt spoke about Musila’s testimony to RCMP Sgt. Heidi Ravenhill after Musila was arrested for Worsfold’s murder.
In a statement RCMP, Musila said she drugged Worsfold and was concerned he overdosed. Musila then said she spoke to Rafters and he said she needed to kill the senior so she wouldn’t go to jail.
The Crown also discussed strange google map searches from a computer in Worsfold’s apartment which included items like, “It’s hard without a cellphone.” Musila did not have a cellphone.
“How can I be sure I won’t walk away empty handed.”
“Leave country after this”
“I don’t have a gun and he is heavy.”
Schmidt said the searches show there was planning by Musila.
That night after Worsfold’s death there were dozens of calls made between the landline in Worsfold’s apartment and Rafter’s cell phone, which suggests he wasn’t in the apartment at the time of the murder.
Schmidt addressed concerns he had about Rafters testimony in that Rafters was a terrible witness with a criminal record and a bad memory from things like drug use.
“Be cautious about what he says as true,” said Schmidt.
Rafters also had an alibi that could not place him at Worsfold’s apartment at the time of the murder.
Schmidt said Musila’s actions the night of Worsfold’s murder are inconsistent with someone who had just experienced a break-in.
“She doesn’t check on Worsfold…she does coke with Fisher,” he said.
Schmidt said Musila is either unreliable or actively lying.
“This was a trial about choices, choices Musila made over the course of the weekend,” he said.
“Focus on evidence and you will have no reasonable doubt Beryl Musila committed the planned, deliberate murder of Ronald Worsfold,” he said.
A verdict is being deliberated by a 12-member jury.
By Jessica Nelson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Jun 22, 2023 at 16:40