Maria Catroppa was stabbed to death in 2009.

Elderly wife-killer appeals murder conviction

77-year-old Sebastiano Damin stabbed Maria Catroppa to death in 2009.

A Surrey senior who stabbed his wife more than 100 times when he killed her nearly three years ago wants his second-degree murder conviction quashed because he was mentally impaired when he did it.

Sebastiano Damin, 77, was sentenced last year to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years for murdering 69-year-old Maria Catroppa.

On Tuesday (Oct. 2) three B.C. Court of Appeal justices heard Damin’s second-degree murder appeal.

During the 2011 trial in New Westminster Supreme Court, his defence lawyers sought a lesser conviction of manslaughter, citing evidence Damin was severely depressed and his cognitive function was impaired at the time of the murder.

Damin’s lawyer made a similar argument at the appeal hearing, claiming the trial judge, Justice Ian Josephson, did not give due consideration to testimony from Damin’s psychiatrist. Catroppa’s husband, it was argued, didn’t know what he was doing when he killed her, due to his diminished mental state.

On Nov. 24, 2009, Catroppa and Damin were sleeping in separate rooms in their townhouse near 85 Avenue and 164 Street. The court heard Damin woke in the night to get a drink when “something snapped” in his head and he took a steak knife into his wife’s room and stabbed her repeatedly. A forensic pathologist testified Catroppa had been stabbed 126 times.

Damin then tried to end his own life, but couldn’t go through with it and called 911.

A psychiatrist testified the elderly man said he and his wife, who had been married for about 10 years, had been having relationship troubles and Catroppa wanted him to leave.

In his original judgment, Justice Josephson said Damin’s crime showed the intent required for a second-degree murder conviction. Damin was angry his wife wanted to end the marriage “and that anger motivated the knife attack on the victim,” said Josephson.

“This was not a single blow in a heated moment.”

The Catroppa family has since become advocates against domestic abuse and shared Maria’s story for the short film “The Honest Truth.” They also established the The Maria Catroppa Memorial Award at Kwantlen Polytechnic University to help single mothers further their education.

Judgment on the appeal was reserved to a later date.

sreynolds@surreyleader.com

Just Posted

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

PHOTOS: Surrey designer uses toilet paper to make a dress for annual Toronto show

‘The dress is very experimental and avante garde,’ says Guildford-based Alex S. Yu

Police issue warning after four overdoses in North Delta

Police and emergency health services use naloxone to revive four overdose victims Thursday morning

Surrey reacts to policing plan getting the green light

Former mayor, councillors and residents weigh in on the Public Safety Minister approving the transition

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

North Van music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read