The timing of the trial of a second woman charged with an axe murder is up in the air after a jury yesterday acquitted her co-accused and former lover, Ashleigh Pechaluk.

“The verdict in this case has to be taken into consideration in terms of how our trial will proceed,” said defence lawyer Richard Stern, who represents Nicola Puddicombe, 36. Stern said he will be holding discussions with the Crown about the trial that was tentatively set to begin Monday.

Both women were jointly charged with first-degree murder for allegedly concocting a plan to kill 36-year-old Dennis Hoy, Puddicombe’s boyfriend.

On Oct. 27, 2006, police responded to a 9-1-1 call and arrived at an apartment on The Queensway after midnight to find Hoy, a GO Transit constable, face down and naked in the bed. There was an axe nearby.

Pechaluk, 24, was arrested that night and has been in custody ever since Puddicombe’s trial was tentatively scheduled to begin Monday.

Pechaluk said she has nothing to say to Puddicombe, except “she’ll have a fair trial.” She said she was sorry for what happened to the Hoy family. “It’s not fair.”

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