September 26, 2011
Trial begins in murder of Croatian Giant
By DEAN PRITCHARD - Winnipeg Sun

A jury has begun hearing evidence in the trial of three people accused of murdering former wrestler Ivan Radocaj.

Melody Lynn Sanford, 46, Donald Richard, 34, and Rita Louise Cushnie, 56, have pleaded not guilty to first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Radocaj — known as the Croatian Giant during his wrestling days — was found beaten to death in his Komarno home Sept. 14, 2007.

The Crown alleges Sanford — Radocaj’s estranged wife orchestrated the killing.

Witnesses are expected to testify Sanford became “disgruntled” shortly after marrying Radocaj in June 2007 and talked about “hiring a hitman,” Crown attorney Mark Kantor told jurors.

Meetings

Another witness, Timothy Richard, Donald Richard’s cousin, is expected to testify he attended meetings to discuss killing Radocaj.

On the night of the killing, Sanford met with Radocaj at a Teulon restaurant while Richard, his cousin Daniel Richard and Christopher Houle broke into his home and waited for his return, Kantor said.

Upon his return, Radocaj was fatally beaten about the head and body with metal bars.

Radocaj died as the result of “multiple powerful blunt impacts to the head and significant tearing of the brain,” pathologist Dr. John Younes testified.

Jurors heard testimony police searched Sanford’s home and seized notebooks containing diagrams of Radocaj’s house.

The trial is set for three weeks.

RELATED LINKS

  • Archive of Ivan (John) Radocaj stories


  • CANOE.CA SLAM!