A B.C. Supreme Court justice has found a 30-year-old Surrey woman guilty of the second-degree murder of her mother, calling the 2012 stabbing a “violent and vicious” intentional killing.
Gloria Zerbinos was convicted in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster Tuesday morning.
Her mom, 43-year-old Pangiota (“Yota”) Zerbinos, was found dead in Gloria’s basement suite near 88 Avenue and 148A Street on Nov. 8 2012, a knife still protruding from her chest. Gloria was arrested and charged two days later at a Vancouver strip club.
Family members and friends of Yota cried as Justice Frits Verhoeven described the gruesome and brutal details of her murder, while Gloria, wearing green prison garb with her dark curly hair now shoulder length, stared intently, without emotion, as he read his judgement.
He said Yota was stabbed “at least” 24 times, with wounds found all over body, including her scalp, hands, arms, legs, chest and back.
During the trial, the court heard that Gloria admitted to police investigators that she’d stabbed her mom, but denied the killing was planned and deliberate.
“We started arguing… I did confront her… it went sour and it went bad,” she said.
But while the defence argued her admissions weren’t reliable, Verhoeven disagreed, saying even without the confession, the circumstantial facts were “overwhelming.”
He said from the evidence, it was was clear the attack was “extremely violent” and lasted some time.
“The conclusion is inescapable that the accused meant to stab the victim through the heart,” said Verhoeven. “She did so repeatedly.
“The lethal intention… could hardly be more emphatically indicated.”
Earlier this year the judge denied that Gloria was not criminally responsible for the murder. He reiterated his stance Tuesday, saying there was no evidence a mental condition impeded her capacity to know the attack would kill her mother.
Following the judgment, Yota’s family and friends expressed relief, one whispering “yes!” in the courtroom and another saying he had little doubt the judge would find Gloria guilty of second-degree murder.
“It is what it is,” said Yota’s husband Trevor Forsyth, still wiping tears from his eyes.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.
A second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence, with no chance of parole for between 10 and 25 years. Verhoeven will determine the length of parole ineligibility for Zerbinos following submissions by both defence and Crown counsel.