Canada: Accused murderer says he accidentally killed friend, gambling partner in struggle over $10,000

The Calgary man accused of murdering his blackjack partner and friend of 30 years said he accidentally strangled her during a struggle in his car when she tried to steal $10,000 from him.

Chris Lee, a.k.a. Kevin Barton, testified in his own defence Monday.

Lee, 63, is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of Vida Smith, 69. Her body has never been found.

Lee told jurors on Monday he left her tarped body in the mountains near Banff.

Under questioning from defence lawyer Cory Wilson, Lee said he and Smith dated on-and-off between about 2000 and 2010 but had been “just friends” since then.

“I have no doubt that each and every one of you are left with more questions than answers,” Wilson said in his opening address to the jury.

Wilson said the killing was a “tragic accident” that took place during a struggle lastingĀ “no more than 30 seconds.”

The defence lawyer told jurors Lee should be convicted only of manslaughter.

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