BC prosecutors seek to stop retrial of former Vernon man in 2016 murder of Natsumi Kogawa

Date set to appeal retrial

Crown prosecutors will submit their appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in December in a bid to overturn a B.C. Court of Appeal decision that granted a former Vernon man a retrial in the death of a Japanese exchange student.

A hearing date is tentatively scheduled for December, although an exact date has not yet been given.

At that time, they will appeal the February split decision by the appeal court that the trial judge erred in admitting an overheard telephone conversation in which William Victor Schneider was heard by his brother to have said "I did it."

The comment was believed to be in regard to the murder of Natsumi Kogawa, whose decomposed body was found stuffed into a suitcase on the grounds of a vacant Vancouver mansion in 2016.

Schneider was convicted in 2018 of second-degree murder in the high-profile case and also pleaded guilty to guilty to indignity to a human body, for which he remains behind bars.

The Crown is appealing the retrial, but, pending a Supreme Court decision, court proceedings continue as if the trial will go ahead.

The Crown is challenging under provisions of the Criminal Code that grant the right to appeal when there is a dissenting judgment in the court of appeal.

On April 29, Schneider was denied parole on the indignity conviction as the Parole Board of Canada deemed him a high risk to reoffend.

If the Crown is successful in its appeal, there would be no second trial on Kogawa's killing.

Kogawa's disapperance in 2016 prompted huge media coverage before the discovery of her body weeks later.

In the interim, Schneider fled to his hometown of Vernon, where he allegedly confessed to his brother, Warren, and was later arrested in Polson Park, where he had set up a makeshift camp.

Meanwhile, a retrial has been scheduled to commence on May 24, 2022.

Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel with the BC Prosecution Service, says jury selection will occur on April 28, 2022, and a pretrial conference has been set for Jan. 25.

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