On April 15, 2019, John Brittain, a retired City of Penticton civil engineer, allegedly murdered Rudi Winter outside his Penticton home, then drove to the homes of Darlene Knippelberg and Susan and Barry Wonch and killed them too.
John Brittain faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder.
To this point, neither the alleged murderer nor his lawyer have offered a motive for the killings.
Penticton and Kelowna news outlets report John Brittain intends to plead guilty, sparing the families of the victims a scheduled 4-week trial, which was scheduled to begin on Monday.
Brittain’s trial will now be replaced by a plea hearing, scheduled on October 14th, and after Brittain’s plea is entered a 2-day sentencing hearing will begin.
It also appears an out-of-court settlement was reached between Sarah Young, daughter of murder victims Susan and Barry Wonch, and John Brittain as Young’s lawsuit for damages was dismissed with the consent of both parties.
Sarah Young’s lawsuit for damages was dismissed on Friday, October 2, 2020.
Shortly after the April 15th murders, John Brittain drove to the Penticton RCMP detachment and turned himself in. He has remained in custody ever since.
For more on this story, please see my entry under Canadian Mass Murders, John Brittain: Man Kills Four in Penticton Then Turns Himself In to RCMP.
Once the details of the sentencing hearing are made public, I’ll update this story to include everything we know about this tragedy including, I hope, the reasons why John Brittain chose to murder four innocent people.
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