Powney suddenly confesses in Bruce Peninsula murder .. life in prison “with no chance of parole for 10 years”!

Wayne Powney is escorted from Owen Sound jail in April 2008 for a court appearance. He was subsequently granted bail until his more recent appearances. WILLY WATERTON/OWEN SOUND SUN TIMES/QMI AGENCY.

We reported just this past Sunday that the trial of Allan Wayne Powney for the murder of Dr. Henry Janssen, in Ontario’s idyllic Bruce Peninsula community of Jackson’s Cove, just after 9 PM on January 22, 2008, was at long last about to get under way, with jury selection this past Monday.  It was expected that the ensuing “trial should take about six weeks.”

Instead, in more than a little of a dramatic turnaround (and apparently after “frank talk” among lawyers Monday), this past Tuesday Powney finally entered a plea of guilty to the second-degree murder of Dr. Janssen. And then “Powney was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday [January 12] in the Superior Court of Justice, with no chance of parole for 10 years.” A case that had mysteriously dragged on for almost three years was suddenly put to rest in a mere three days.

As many have quietly suspected, a love triangle was at the bottom of the Janssen murder. All of  Wayne Powney and his wife Elaine and Dr. Henry Janssen and his wife Lynn were empty-nest new arrivals in Jackson’s Cove — where the Powneys had moved full time in 2000, and the Janssens in 2003. They quickly became close friends. (Both couples “had similar interests and … two grown children.”) And: “They spent a great deal of time together.”

Then, as Crown attorney Mike Murdoch has explained: “Wayne Powney and Lynn Janssen became too close.” Unbeknownst to their spouses, they began an affair in the fall of 2005. But then “Lynn Janssen ended the affair in 2007 and ‘rededicated’ herself to her marriage, which made Wayne Powney depressed, Murdoch said.”

Murdoch has also indicated that “the day before Powney killed Henry Janssen, ‘he ranted to Lynn’s mother that he loved Lynn more than Henry did.’ He made similar claims to others in the past.” And “clearly Powney intended to confront Henry Janssen with a firearm. Powney took a gun from the Janssen home and sawed off the barrel and the butt … He took it with him and drove to Scenic Caves Rd. [in the Jackson’s Cove area], waiting for Janssen to come along.”

It would seem that the extent to which Powney actually intended to kill Janssen with the sawed-off rifle on January 22, 2008 (as opposed to just “confront” him “with a firearm”) is not entirely clear. What finally happened may have been somewhat accidental. And this would appear to have something to do with the Crown’s willingness to accept Powney’s second-degree murder confession, rather than carry on with the first-degree murder charge that had originally been brought against him in the planned trial of about six weeks.

Some of the scenery on Scenic Caves Road.

The logic behind Powney’s confession to second-degree murder is that this did at least make him eligible for parole in 10 years (at which point he will be 76, and conceivably still able to spend some time with his family). Conviction on a first-degree murder charge would have meant a much longer period before parole eligibility kicked in. And whatever his exact intentions beforehand may have been, there is apparently enough clear evidence to show that Wayne Powney did in fact kill Henry Janssen with the sawed-off rifle. At his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, January 12, “Powney made a lengthy, emotional declaration that he was sorry. He said his crimes were eating away at him and he asked for forgiveness.”

L. Frank Bunting, who posted our original ““MURDER ON THE BRUCE PENINSULA .. something going on we don’t know about?” on January 31, 2008, tells us he is thinking about setting down some concluding thoughts on what it all means — maybe, once he has had time to more fully digest the surprising final developments of the past three days. Meanwhile, check out two stories in the Owen Sound Sun Times for immediate further details: “Powney pleads to murder” and “Powney sentenced to life for murder.” (And CLICK HERE for Mr. Bunting’s original deep background piece three years ago.)

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