BARRIE, Ont. — A door-to-door salesman admitted Tuesday that he brutally murdered a prominent surgeon's wife.
Clare Spiers, 49, of no fixed addressed, was initially convicted of first-degree murder in 2008 for killing Mimi Khonsari, 60. However, the Ontario Court of Appeal in November tossed out the conviction.
Spears pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder in the same slaying. While the law requires that he be sentenced to life in prison, a judge will determine his parole eligibility — 10 years to 25 years — on July 16.
Khonsari had been strangled and stabbed 18 times to the neck when her body was discovered in a wooded area north of Barrie, on May 21, 2004. Her infant granddaughter was found abandoned in her car at a Barrie mall parking lot.
Her husband, Dr. Homa Khonsari — chief of surgery at the Barrie Royal Victoria Hospital — was grief-stricken over his wife's murder before he died of cancer in 2011.
At the time of the first-degree murder conviction, Justice Robert MacKinnon called the crime "a murder most vile."
"You slit her throat, and watched her die," said MacKinnon.
Three years into his first-degree murder sentence — life with no parole for 25 years — the Court of Appeal ruled that Spiers' right to a fair trial was hampered because the Crown asked police to check out personal backgrounds of potential jurors before they were selected to sit on the trial.
A new trial was set for this September and was to be held in Toronto to ensure a jury would not be prejudiced.
The Crown faced the prospect of a repetition of the costly three-month trial and tracking down witnesses from a decade ago. The Crown decided to allow Spiers to plead guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder.