WARNING: This story contains graphic details that may be triggering to some readers.
A woman previously unknown to police entered a guilty plea in Kelowna’s B.C. Supreme Court, for the role she played in her husband’s death and was then sentenced to 14 years in prison.
On May 29, Billie-Jo Bennett, 56, entered a guilty plea to the lesser but included charge of manslaughter, and pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder. She agreed to the statement of facts that were submitted by both the Crown and defence prosecutors in the case.
Shortly after stabbing her husband, James Bennett, to death on the morning of Oct. 18, 2021, Billie-Jo went outside to smoke a cigarette and call 911. She then calmly told the operators that she had killed her husband.
After arriving on the scene, police placed Billie-Jo under arrest and was she interrogated that day, however, she was not yet charged. She was then apprehended under the mental health act several weeks later, at which time she was charged with second-degree murder on Dec. 8.
Bennett has remained in jail since the arrest and has not requested a bail hearing.
Earlier in the trial, a video of Bennett’s police testimony was played for the court. In the video, Bennett explained that she did not want to upset her husband by telling him about their money troubles. She was responsible for their finances and said that they were at risk of losing their car and phones and becoming homeless.
“I thought it would be easier for me to be here and deal with things than him… killing James would relieve him of all.”
She explained that James did not like to deal with the finances and would become quiet with her when upset.
Days before killing her husband, Billie-Jo attempted suicide, and she said that she had initially planned to kill herself after killing James.
On the morning of the incident, James was sleeping in the couple’s bed. He was a small, frail man, weighing only 85 pounds at the time of his death.
Billie-Jo used a kitchen knife to stab James in the back, while he slept.
“You’ve got to realize he’s a very small man and it’s a big knife,” she said during her video police testimony.
Before sentencing, Billie-Jo gave a short statement.
“Well, I didn’t wake up that morning to do this. I loved Jim with all my heart, and I still do to this day.”
Bennett will receive just over 800 days credit for time served already.