Mother gets life – Metro US

Mother gets life

Uncontrollable sobs from Katrina Effert’s parents echoed through a packed courtroom yesterday, after a judge ruled Effert will have to serve a life sentence for the murder of her newborn son.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Joanne Veit rejected defence lawyer Peter Royal’s application for a mistrial, and said that though “juries, like judges, sometimes make mistakes” the proper avenue for a mistrial is the Court of Appeal.

Effert, 23, bowed her head, sobbed silently and sunk progressively lower in her seat as Veit reasoned her ruling.

“The situation is best described as tragic. One young life is lost, and another is in ruin,” Crown prosecutor John Laluka said in court, describing the baby who in 2005 was strangled to death with a pair of panties and tossed in a neighbour’s yard as “the most innocent of victims.”

A jury reached the verdict Saturday. It was the second time Effert was convicted of murdering her son. A retrial from her initial 2006 conviction was ordered after the Crown agreed the original judge erred while instructing the jury. Royal claimed jurors “misunderstood” evidence, upon making the mistrial application Monday.

“The suggestion that 12 people can’t figure it out does a disservice to the jury system,” Laluka said outside court. “I think they’re more than able to make these decisions.”

Royal declined comment, but said he has plans to file an appeal.

Laluka and Crown prosecutor Rob Robbenhaar said Effert’s own words were the strongest pieces of evidence against her.

“The very complex nature of her lies showed she did not have a disturbance of the mind. She was clear-thinking throughout,” Laluka said.

Effert is not eligible for parole for 10 years.