May 28th, 2024

Ex-wife of Winnipeg serial killer recounts volatile marriage, sexual assaults

By Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press on May 16, 2024.

Families and supporters of four women slain in 2022 enter the Manitoba Law Courts for the trial of Jeremy Skibicki in Winnipeg on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. The ex-wife of the admitted serial killer is expected to testify Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

WINNIPEG – The ex-wife of admitted serial killer Jeremy Skibicki recounted her violent marriage with the man during the second week of his murder trial.

The woman told court she met Skibicki at Siloam Mission, a Winnipeg homeless shelter, while she was struggling with drug addiction in February 2018.

Skibicki was with two other men, she said, and the group invited her back to Skibicki’s home.

“He said he really likes this one … referring to me,” the 44-year-old testified Thursday.

Skibicki, 37, faces four counts of first-degree murder for the 2022 slayings of four Indigenous women.

He has admitted to killing Rebecca Contois, 24; Morgan Harris, 39; Marcedes Myran, 26; and an unidentified woman Indigenous leaders have named Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman.

His lawyers are arguing he’s not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

Crown prosecutors say the killings were racially motivated and Skibicki preyed on the vulnerable women at homeless shelters.

Court has heard he assaulted the women, strangled or drowned them and disposed of their bodies in garbage bins in his neighbourhood. Two women were dismembered.

Wearing a dark shirt and colourful glasses, Skibicki’s ex-wife spent roughly two hours detailing their volatile relationship. She asked not to be named publicly.

After their first encounter, she said, she began staying at Skibicki’s home because she was using methamphetamine and had nowhere to go.

The violence started early on, she said.

“He would keep me (in his home) and spit on me and laugh at me,” the woman said softly. “I sat there naked for a few days.”

One time, she said, Skibicki tried suffocating her with a pillow.

“I said, ‘Go ahead, but people know where I am.'”

The abuse eventually turned sexual, she said. She had been prescribed sleeping medication for post-traumatic stress disorder and Skibicki forced her to take the pills each night, she said.

“Jeremy liked when I (took) my meds … when I would sleep, he would have sex with me.”

Crown prosecutor Chris Vanderhooft asked how the woman knew she was being sexually assaulted. She said she would wake up sore and bleeding.

“He also told me that he was doing it,” she added.

The two were married in September 2018. Skibicki publicly proposed in a pharmacy, she said, and she agreed because she felt stuck.

Skibicki once attacked her with a knife, she said, and another time he gave her a concussion.

A year after they were married, the woman sought addiction treatment and filed for a protection order against Skibicki.

Police arrested Skibicki in 2022, after a man looking for scrap metal found the partial remains of Contois in a dumpster. More of the woman’s remains were discovered the following month at a landfill.

During a police interrogation, Skibicki admitted to killing the three other women.

Court has heard Buffalo Woman was killed in March of that year. The other women were killed that May.

The ex-wife testified she received Facebook messages around that time from Skibicki. On May 9, he asked for her forgiveness if he went to prison.

“He said to me that he couldn’t tell me what he did. But if he did admit what he did, he would be on the run,” she said.

Defence lawyers were expected to cross-examine the woman in the afternoon.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2024.

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