Stoppel suspect awarded new trial

Arnold wins appeal in slaying of brutally beaten B.C. teen

Sat, May 19, 2001

By Leah Janzen

THE man police say is the main suspect in the slaying of Barbara Stoppel has been granted a new trial in

the beating death of a 16-year-old B.C. girl.

Terry Arnold was convicted of first-degree murder in 1999 and is currently serving a life sentence in a B.C.

prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Yesterday, the B.C. Appeal Court overturned Arnold's conviction and ordered a new trial after agreeing

with defence lawyers that they had been hamstrung by the Crown during the first trial.

The court ruled late disclosure of witness statements to Arnold's defence lawyer rendered the first trial


Arnold has the right to apply for bail pending his second murder trial, but no formal request was made by

his lawyer yesterday.

The new trial date has not yet been determined.

Arnold, 38, is being pursued by the Winnipeg Police Service as the new prime suspect in the 1981 slaying

of Barbara Stoppel in a Winnipeg doughnut shop.

Christine Marie Browne, 16, was found bludgeoned to death near Hedley, B.C., in October, 1992. RCMP

investigators, initially stymied in their attempts to find the runaway's killer, focused on Arnold.

Arnold was serving time in a New Brunswick prison for sexual assault in 1997 when he was made the

prime suspect in Browne's killing.

Undercover RCMP officers testified at his first trial that they enticed Arnold back to B.C. once he was

released from prison by promising him he would gain entry into an elite biker gang if he walked them

through Browne's murder.

According to the RCMP, Arnold showed the officers exactly where he'd left the teen's body and described

how he'd bashed her head in with a piece of wood.

In interviews with the , Arnold has maintained he did not kill Browne but knew of the

circumstances of her death because an acquaintance had told him about the killing.

Free Press

Arnold has also strongly denied any involvement in Stoppel's slaying.

After hearing the prime suspect in his sister's death was going back to court, Rick Stoppel said through his

lawyer Jay Prober that his own suffering was not his main concern.

"They are feeling concern and sympathy for the victim's family," said Prober. "The Stoppels know all too

well the pain and suffering those people will have to go through again."

Prober said Rick Stoppel is also hopeful that the B.C. Crown attorneys office will apply to have Arnold

tried as a dangerous offender.

If he's found guilty and is deemed a dangerous offender, Arnold could be held in jail indefinitely.

Last summer, Winnipeg police revealed Arnold is the new suspect in the slaying of Stoppel, who was

strangled and left for dead in the St. Boniface doughnut shop where she worked on December 23, 1981.

Numerous investigators interviewed Arnold in the days following Stoppel's murder, but despite his

resemblance to the description witnesses gave of the killer and his admission to police that he had a crush

on Stoppel, Arnold was dismissed as a suspect.

Arnold has also been identified as the prime suspect in the slaying of a Calgary teenager and a possible

suspect in other killings in the U.S.

Thomas Sophonow was arrested for Stoppel's killing in March, 1982.

He went on to face three trials and was wrongly convicted twice for the killing before the Manitoba Court

of Appeal put an end to the court proceedings and acquitted him in 1985.

Sophonow was publicly exonerated by the Winnipeg Police Service last summer after a reinvestigation of

the killing pointed to Arnold.

A judicial inquiry is currently under way to determine how much compensation Sophonow should receive

for the nearly four years he spent in jail.