Former B.C. Lion Joshua Boden murdered an ex-girlfriend because he blamed her for costing him his football career, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
The prosecution theory was outlined during the first day of the trial of Boden, who pleaded not guilty to the March 2009 second-degree murder of Kimberly Hallgarth, 33, at the victim’s home on Colborne Avenue in Burnaby.
Crown counsel Mark Crisp told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies that Boden and Hallgarth were well-known to each other and had dated one another and while they were no longer in a relationship, they had maintained contact up until the slaying.
Hallgarth complained to others about physical abuse she had suffered at the hands of Boden, including a complaint to then-Lions head coach Wally Buono, Crisp told the judge. She sent photos of her injuries and damage that had been done to her vehicle to Buono, who responded by cutting Boden from the CFL team, he said.
“Mr. Boden resented Ms. Hallgarth for this. He felt she owed him and he came after her for money on numerous occasions,” said Crisp. “The Crown says he killed her and points to this motive or animus that she cost him his football career.”
Boden, described by the Crown as a “large, strong man,” played as a wide receiver for the Leos for just a year before he was released from the team, later being picked up by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a brief stint.
Crisp said the autopsy of the victim showed that she had suffered “catastrophic” injuries.
“Some of the injuries might be consistent with a slip down the stairs but the autopsy report also points to prominent hemorrhaging on her face and upper chest,” said the prosecutor. “There are fingertip bruises on her forearm. And her hyoid bone, the bone near the front of her neck, was fractured.
“The report points to substantial injuries at the front of the neck and the pathologist’s opinion was asphyxia due to strangulation. Mr. Boden had the means to commit this murder. He had been to Ms. Hallgarth’s home on many occasions. He knew where it was.”
The key Crown witness is expected to be another ex-girlfriend of Boden named Heidi Nissen, who the prosecution says witnessed parts of Boden’s attack on Hallgarth. Crisp said that Nissen was also fearful of Boden and when she arrived at Hallgarth’s home on the day of the slaying, she was surprised to find the accused at the home.
Nissen will testify that she went upstairs and Boden struck her and she briefly lost consciousness before waking up and seeing Boden at the base of the stairs, stomping on Hallgarth’s neck, he said.
“Crown expects that she will testify that she saw Mr. Boden with his hands around Ms. Hallgarth’s neck. She could hear Ms. Hallgarth gasping and trying to breathe. She saw Mr. Boden choke Ms. Hallgarth until she died.”
After Hallgarth died, Nissen and Boden left the Burnaby residence and returned to a home that they had shared when their on-and-off relationship was on, said Crisp.
“In Crown’s view, what Ms. Nissen saw was straightforward but it is her relationship with Mr. Boden that is anything but,” he said.
The prosecutor said he expects that Nissen will be extensively questioned and might be on the witness stand for a week and that it will be disclosed that some of her previous statements were lies. Nissen might not testify until December or January.
In addition to witness testimony, there are cellphone records placing Boden in the vicinity of the crime scene as well as forensic evidence, said Crisp.
The first two witnesses, who had worked as live-in nannies, caring for Hallgarth’s three-year-old daughter, testified about arriving at the crime scene and calling 911 after seeing the victim’s body inside the home.
The trial continues Thursday.