Guilty verdict in Tremble murder trial
After deliberating for more than seven hours, a jury found Terry Tremble guilty of murder Thursday evening in the brutal 2010 bludgeoning death of his wife, Guelph paramedic Adrienne Roberts.
Vik Kirsch, Mercury staff
GUELPH — After deliberating for more than seven hours, a jury found Terry Tremble guilty of murder Thursday evening in the brutal 2010 bludgeoning death of his wife, Guelph paramedic Adrienne Roberts.
With three dozen people in the public gallery in Guelph Superior Court, Justice Jack Belleghem asked the foreperson to read out the jury’s verdict.
“Guilty of first-degree murder as charged,” the man responded as a woman in Roberts’s family cried out and burst into tears.
Tremble, 52, sat motionless and stone-faced as people in the gallery wept, including police officers who worked to build a strong circumstantial case against the Hanover-area farmer.
Tremble lived with Roberts, 33, in the couple’s Arthur home until her death on Oct. 6, 2010. Court heard during the four-week trial that Roberts was seeking a divorce from Tremble when she was killed.
Assistant Crown prosecutor Murray de Vos asked Belleghem to postpone sentencing until 10 a.m. next Wednesday to allow family members to submit victim impact statements. Defence attorney Brennan Smart said “we’re prepared to proceed with sentencing now,” but agreed to de Vos’s request.
Smart said in an interview it was up to Tremble to decide if he would launch an appeal. Asked to comment on the verdict, Smart said: “I respect the jury system.”
De Vos said in a brief interview the jury went through a lot of evidence in its deliberations, some of it graphic, “and rendered a just and proper decision.”
Asked if the jury indeed rendered the right verdict, Scott Roberts of Guelph, the father of the murder victim, said: “They must have thought so.” He stressed it was a unanimous decision by 12 jurors.
Adrienne Roberts’s mother, Linda Ghent of Fergus, wept as the verdict was announced.
“I’m glad. He’s getting what he deserves … (for) brutally killing my daughter like that,” Ghent told a reporter.
During the trial, court heard Roberts was increasingly unhappy with her 2009 marriage to Tremble. Their son, Caleb, was eight months old at the time of the slaying. Roberts told friends and colleagues in fall 2010 that Tremble didn’t contribute enough financially to the family and was an absentee husband and father.
Her bloodstained body was found in her home by Tremble’s sister. Roberts was lying face down in a blood-spattered downstairs bedroom, where she’d been bludgeoned by an instrument like a crowbar that was never found, despite extensive police searches of Arthur.
Two drops of Tremble’s blood were found on the inside of the front door of the home, which the defence argued could have been there for some time, since he lived in the residence. Tremble’s DNA from what might have been saliva was found on Roberts’ shirt and pyjama bottom when she was found.
Further, there was surveillance camera evidence from an auto parts maker less than two kilometres from the home that Tremble abandoned Roberts’ black Jeep Patriot there on the morning of her death.
The jury began deliberating earlier Thursday after final instructions from Belleghem in Guelph Superior Court.
Tremble sat passively in a dark blue suit and grey shirt Thursday morning as Belleghem finished instructing the jury, a process the judge began Wednesday. His instructions were primarily a review of Crown and defence positions heard over the past four weeks.
“Much of the case against Mr. Tremble is circumstantial,” Belleghem said, adding the cumulative effect could be important in their deliberations.
“Assess the entire evidence fairly,” he urged them.
Belleghem reviewed weeks of testimony presented by the Crown.
The defence did not call any testimony.
Things the jury didn’t hear
There were behind-the-scene dramas the jury never saw in the four-week trial of Terry Tremble.
The public gallery revealed a divided Tremble family.
Tremble’s sister, Marjorie Porter, was the person who discovered the body of Adrienne Roberts, a Guelph-Wellington EMS paramedic.
Porter, 66, testified in Guelph Superior Court she admired the hard-working Roberts, who was seeking a divorce at the time of her death. But Porter was not close to her younger brother. After testifying, Porter sat quietly in the gallery for the rest of the trial, never acknowledging Tremble when he scanned the small crowds that attended daily.
Later asked by a Mercury reporter why she was there when she had no apparent affinity to her brother, Porter suggested he was a bit of a mystery to her and she wanted to understand him better, but didn’t elaborate because the issue was “personal.”
She also sat apart from a sister who attended occasionally from Kitchener. That woman told the Mercury she had been on better relations with Tremble. Occasionally, the accused man stared silently at her when she was in the court.
Testimony in the trial began Jan. 28. Two days later, defence attorney Brennan Smart complained Tremble wasn’t returned to the Toronto detention centre each day after the trial in time to have a shower. Court ended early that day to ensure he did.
“It is now becoming, I think, an unfair situation … He is concerned about his hygiene,” the lawyer said.
Justice Jack Belleghem instructed several witnesses, out of earshot of the jury, they were not to provide details of what Roberts told them about an allegation Tremble assaulted the couple’s eight-month-old boy about two weeks before the murder. The Crown dropped the assault charge in February 2012.
Court started late on Feb. 5 after Tremble, held in custody, complained of pain from a chipped tooth and had a consultation with a dentist. Arrangements were made for treatment two days later, requiring court to shut down early that afternoon.
Throughout the trial, various members of the public attended, often to lend support to Roberts’s family, friends and colleagues.
Those appearing occasionally included Guelph Fire Chief Shawn Armstrong and a church minister.
Also in the gallery were two men who played recreational hockey with Tremble and were curious about the proceedings.
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