Did Grace Robotti intend to kill the mother of her great-grandchild, or was she driven to it by fear for her own safety?
That’s the question a jury of 12 will soon consider now that both the defence and Crown counsel have submitted their arguments.
First to offer closing statements to jurors at the 68-year-old’s second degree murder trial was defence lawyer, James Pennington.
He portrayed Robotti as someone Roxanne Louie turned to for support and advice, particularly in relation to the young child they both loved.
Their relationship had its ups and downs, like any family, “but what relationship doesn’t?” he said to jurors.
The fatal fight between the two women Jan. 4, 2015, however, was a turning point, and the details of it are where he found an argument for self defence and provocation.
Like other times, they argued about how Louie was raising the child, but, Pennington said, it quickly escalated to unmanageable levels.
Louie, he said, had a crowbar, and threw it at Robotti. She collected it again, he said, then paced around Louie.
“Place yourself in the shoes of Mrs. Robotti,” he said to jurors. “She’s a woman in her mid 60s, confronted by an aggressive woman in her mid 20s… who was armed with a weapon.”
Pennington said if you aren’t a woman in your mid 60s, you may not be concerned by the scenario.
“But if you’re a woman who’s never been in a fight before, being confronted by someone brandishing a weapon…” the perspective would be different.
Louie, he said was “kind and pleasant” but she did have a dark side.
She was flagged by police as violent and mentally unstable and had two charges of assault with a weapon on record.
“(Robotti) knew she was quite capable of inflicting bodily harm if given the opportunity,” he said.
So, he said, when the fight broke out Robotti acted with a force intended to just make Louie “stop.”
When Crown counsel Mallory Treddenick offered her closing remarks she pointed out that Robotti’s recollection of events when she testified was evasive, meandering and oftentimes self serving.
She explained to the jury that while the Crown concedes her initial defence of herself was justified, there was point where Louie passed out and any force against her was “no longer for the purpose of defending herself.”
Treddenick said Robotti was either trying to kill Louie or “at the very least injure” her.
“What do the number of injuries and the location of the injuries and the severity of the injuries tell you about what was actually in Ms. Robotti’s mind when she struck Roxanne with the crowbar?” said Treddenick to the jury.
Treddenick highlighted the fact that the forensic pathologist who performed Louie’s autopsy, said at least 12 blows to the head were delivered while she was inert.
Treddenick also told jurors that Robotti’s story doesn’t fit the legal parameters needed for provocation, an argument that aligns her with the lesser charge of manslaughter.
She said that she should have “expected the insults and accusations” from Louie, who had been hysterical in front of her before.
The jury will continue getting legal direction from the judge tomorrow and will start deliberations after.