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Sentencing in Renée Sweeney murder case expected today

Convicted killer Robert Steven Wright was found guilty March 28 for the 1998 murder of Laurentian University student Renée Sweeney
Robert Steven Wright.

Robert Steven Wright is expected to be sentenced today for the 1998 murder of Renée Sweeney. 

He was found guilty of second-degree murder on March 28 after a five-week trial. Wright has been incarcerated since his arrest in December 2018, when he was charged with her stabbing death.

The sentencing date was pre-selected by defence co-counsel Bryan Badali and Crown attorney Kevin Ludgate, and agreed upon by Justice Robbie D. Gordon. 

The sentencing hearing will take upwards of a day, as there will be victim impact statements, Ludgate told Gordon. Badali indicated he too would be sending “materials” to the judge in advance of the sentencing hearing. 

Sweeney was at work at a video store in a plaza at 1500 Paris St. when, on the morning of Jan. 27, 1998, she was killed. At the time, Wright was an 18-year-old student at Lockerby Composite School, within walking distance of the store where Sweeney worked.

The second-degree murder trial began with jury selection on Feb. 21 and after a little over a month of evidence and testimony, the jury began their deliberations shortly before 1 p.m. on March 28 and reached a decision the next day.

The Crown rested its case on March 10. Crown witnesses included the manager of the video store, eyewitnesses to the aftermath of the killing, police officers who investigated the crime and forensic scientists who could offer context to DNA evidence found.

The defence called Wright himself, who admitted that he had found Sweeney injured, but said he did not kill her. Believing she was already dead, Wright testified he fled the scene. The defence rested on March 23.

Wright will appear for sentencing on May 19 at 10 a.m. 

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter at 

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Jenny Lamothe

About the Author: Jenny Lamothe

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with She covers the diverse communities of Sudbury, especially the vulnerable or marginalized.
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