Vernon man awaiting second trial for Vancouver killing up for statutory release | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon man awaiting second trial for Vancouver killing up for statutory release

The body of missing woman Natsumi Kogawa, 30, has been found on the grounds of an empty heritage mansion in Vancouver's West End. William Schneider, 48, was arrested in Vernon about 12 hours after the body was located.
Image Credit: Find Natsumi Kogawa via Facebook

The former Vernon man who will soon face a second trial for the 2016 killing of a Japanese woman who was in Canada on a student visa is now eligible for statutory release.

William Schneider recently won an appeal that overturned a 2018 second degree murder conviction for the killing of Natsumi Kogawa.

While a second trial on that charge awaits, he wasn’t released after the successful appeal because he was still serving a three and a half year sentence for committing an indignity to a human body.

His statutory release date on that charge was March 2 and he will be reviewed in accordance with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. 

“Statutory release is mandated by law and not a decision of the Parole Board of Canada,” Lisa Saether, with Corrections Canada said in an email.

“Under the CCRA, all offenders serving determinate sentences are entitled to statutory release after serving two-thirds of their sentence. The statutory release does not apply to offenders serving life and indeterminate sentences.”
Under the law, the parole board is limited to imposing conditions on an offender’s statutory release, except under very specific circumstances where there is a recommendation put forward by the Correctional Service of Canada to detain the offender until the end of their sentence.
The board may order detention if there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offender is likely to commit an offence causing death or serious harm, a sexual offence involving a child, or a serious drug offence prior to the end of the sentence.
It’s believed by friends of Kogawa, that the hearing dealing with Schneider’s release is tomorrow.

Kogawa’s rotting body, found naked and stuffed in a suitcase, two weeks after she was reported missing. The 30-year old’s remains were found on Sept. 28, 2016 on the grounds of the Gabriola mansion in Vancouver’s West End. Schneider was arrested in Vernon 12 hours later.

The trial heard an autopsy found two medications in her body, a sleeping pill and an anti-anxiety drug, the latter of which had been prescribed to Schneider.

The autopsy found no evidence of major injuries and the pathologist was unable to determine the cause of death, but did not rule out overdose or suffocation, the trial heard.

After police told the public about Kogawa's disappearance, Schneider's brother contacted officers and told them Schneider had told him the location of her body.

The Crown's theory at trial was that Schneider and Kogawa were on a date when he became angry because she had to leave. He killed her by smothering or asphyxiating her, using his hand to block her mouth and nose, the Crown argued.

His conversations with his brother, an attempted suicide and a statement to police in which he said her death was "his fault" were all presented as evidence by the Crown.

The defence argued that the Crown did not prove that anyone caused Kogawa's death, let alone Schneider. Placing her body in a suitcase does not prove murder, it said.

Instead, the defence argued he panicked after she died for an unknown reason and then made "very poor decisions" about how to respond.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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