Trial for woman charged with killing husband postponed to May

Murder trial pushed to May

The trial for a Kelowna woman who's charged with killing her husband in 2021 has been postponed to the spring, but she remains behind bars.

Police responded to a “suspicious death” at Kelowna's 661 Bechard Road on Oct. 18, 2021, where they arrested 54-year-old Billie Jo Bennett in connection to the death of her husband, James Wesley Bennett,

But Bennett was released from custody without charge or release conditions shortly after her initial arrest. Charges weren't laid against her for more than seven weeks, until she was arrested again and charged with second-degree murder in December 2021.

Last February, Bennett's murder trial was scheduled to begin in January 2023 as a jury trial. But the trial has been since postponed to May of this year, and it will now run as a judge-alone trial, with no jury involved.

Bennett has remained in custody since the murder charge was laid. Curiously, she hasn't applied for bail since her December 2021 arrest.

Back in October 2021 when the killing occurred, Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance expressed her frustration and concerns that Bennett wasn't immediately charged.

“I find that concerning, absolutely, because there are no conditions imposed on this individual. And yet I understand that my partners at the BC Prosecution Service are acting within the directives of their policies,” Supt. Triance said in October 2021.

“As police officers, this is a very frustrating situation to be in, as we look at the two systems that we must operate between, and increasingly deal with people at large in our society who have complex and concurrent mental health or criminal matters that are affecting the way that we can keep our community safe.”

The circumstances around the alleged killing remain unclear, but the details are expected to come out during the trial in May.

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