The second-degree murder trial of a Merritt woman accused of stabbing her abusive husband to death came to an abrupt end after she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in B.C. Supreme Court.
Janice Nielsen is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 29-30 in B.C. Supreme Court after pleading guilty to manslaughter on Friday.
Nielsen's spouse, Tracy Charters, 56, died in the couple's Merritt home May 21, 2010.
Nielsen was originally charged with second-degree murder. Her trial began last week in a voir dire — trial within a trial — to determine what evidence would be entered. The main trial in front of a jury — including testimony from at least 15 witnesses — was otherwise scheduled to start Monday.
A witness on medical leave during the trial was unable to testify. But prosecutor Tim Livingstone said the voir dire continued last week based on a statement that was deemed admissible in court.
Earlier this month, RCMP successfully sought a publication ban on the names of undercover officers who were expected to testify in the trial.
At the time of Charters' death, police said violence between the couple followed an afternoon of drinking. They had been at a Merritt bar earlier, where they fought. Police said they took separate taxicabs home.
The couple had lived together for several years.
Charters was known to police for previous incidents involving violence against Nielsen.
He was ordered by a Kamloops judge in September 2008 to stay away from Nielsen if they had been drinking. The order came after Charters pleaded guilty to assaulting her after she called 911. Police found her with a cut hand.
During that investigation, Charters told officers he believed husbands have the right to beat their wives.