June 21st, 2024

Sentencing delayed for Barbara Holmes

By Peggy Revell on June 16, 2018.


Sentencing was adjourned to August for a Medicine Hat woman who stabbed her husband to death in 2016 with a kitchen knife.

Barbara Holmes appeared Friday in person at the Medicine Hat Court of Queen’s Bench for what was originally set to be a sentencing for manslaughter — but the court heard further time was needed in preparing her presentencing reports.

“While we regret delay, (the report) certainly could be some benefit to the accused,” said defence counsel Clinton Yarshenko when asked if there was any objection to the adjournment.

Yarshenko informed the court that Holmes has been in custody at the Calgary Remand Centre, where she has been triple bunked and sleeping on mats on the floor for most of the time, despite being in her 50s and others she’s sharing a cell with being younger.

Yarshenko characterized Holmes as being “stoic” and with “tireless optimism” and not complaining about this or the adjournment.

The new sentencing date is set for Aug. 13.

Holmes entered a guilty plea to the charge of manslaughter in April, in lieu of a trial before a Court of Queen’s Bench judge and jury on the charge of second-degree murder.

At this time, the court heard Crown and defence had agreed on a joint sentencing range of five to eight years, but pre-sentencing reports were needed for further consideration.

An agreed statement of facts was also read into record, outlining the events surrounding the death of Holmes’s husband John.

According to this statement, there was an ongoing dispute between the couple stemming from a “one-time sexual liaison” John had with a friend of Barbara’s in November 2015, which had caused “serious strain” in the relationship.

The couple drank at their home on the evening of June 18, 2016 when they began to argue. The argument escalated and Barbara grabbed a large kitchen knife and stabbed John repeatedly in the back. She continued stabbing him after he fell to the ground.

In total, John was stabbed 17 times, with some wounds as deep as 40 cm, and the knife hitting organs, an artery and fracturing ribs.

The couple’s daughter, who lived next door and had been at the house earlier that evening, received a message from Barbara right after the stabbing, saying she had just killed John.

The daughter went to her parents’ house and found her father lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. Barbara told her daughter she had killed John, and then asked her to help hide the body. Instead, the daughter called 911. John was taken to hospital where he later died.

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