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Appeal in West Kelowna murder denied

The man who killed West Kelowna mother Tiffany Fedechko in 2008, failed in a recent attempt to overturn his second degree murder conviction.

James Gordon Feil filed an appeal on the grounds that the trial judge erred in his instructions to the jury.

In particular, his appeal lawyer argued, jurors should have been told that Feil's decisions to not call 911 immediately after Fedechko, 23,  died didn't prove whether or not he intended to kill her in the first place.

The appeal court, however, ruled that even if the judge should have been more thorough in his direction to the jury, "the case against the accused was so overwhelming that a conviction would have been inevitable."

During the trial the court learned that Feil killed his girlfriend the night of Oct. 26/26 2008, through asphyxiation.

Although Feil admitted his actions took her life, his take on the chain of events was that it was a terrible accident brought on by Fedechko.

"I don’ know, uh, she grabbed a knife and like the lights were out, you know, we’re gettin’ intimate and all of a sudden whammo, whammo, and I was like, ‘Whoa what the hell?’" he testified.

"And, and then I tossed her on the bed and jumped on top of her and the knife was swinging and I punched her in the head a few times and I just lost it, and she’s a little girl and I punched her too hard.  I shouldn’t of punched her at all, ya know, and I was defending myself, but really I coulda handled it a little differently than that."

Fedechko,114 lbs, died in that altercation and was left on the bed of Feil's apartment for two and a half days, until Feil turned himself in.

The coroner who dealt with the aftermath said the small woman's air supply would have had to be cut off for three minutes, to end her life.

Cause of death was identified by the Crown in its address to the jury as the “single most important aspect of this case.” "Furthermore, counsel for  Feil agreed during oral argument that the evidence that asphyxiation was the cause of death and that death would have occurred two minutes after   Fedechko was rendered unconscious, was the strongest evidence that  Feil was guilty of murder," wrote Madam Justice MacKenzie, on behalf of the appeal panel.

" I would also observe that the medical evidence suggested that Mr. Feil’s own superficial injuries were self-inflicted, thereby undermining his story that Ms. Fedechko attacked him with a knife."

Therefore, even though the trial judge erred in failing to give the limiting instruction that Mr. Feil’s post-offence conduct could only be used to assess the truth of his statement to the police, the appeal board was persuaded the verdict would have been the same.

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