Poisoned husband with antifreeze, Cherrylle Dell applies for
‘faint hope’ parole
By Andrew Seymour - The
July 12, 2013
OTTAWA — More than fifteen years into a life
sentence for murdering her husband with antifreeze-laced wine,
Cherrylle Dell has taken the first step toward release on early
Dell has filed a faint hope application,
according to her Ottawa lawyer Jeffrey Schroeder.
The now 58-year-old Dell was sentenced to life
in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years after being
convicted of first-degree murder in the Dec. 28, 1995 killing of
husband Scott Dell in Killaloe.
She was also charged in the murder of her
lesbian lover, Nancy Fillmore, but pleaded guilty to the much
lesser charge of counselling Fillmore’s killer, Brent Crawford, to
Fillmore told police that Dell bought the
antifreeze, laced a bottle of white wine with it and delivered it
to her estranged husband. Dell then kept her husband up all night
on the phone, encouraging him to drink it, according to Fillmore.
Fillmore died in a fire in August 1997.
Crawford, who was 16 at the time of the killing, was later
convicted of first-degree murder in Fillmore’s death.
Schroeder said Dell now admits she killed her
husband and accepts responsibility for what she has done.
Schroeder said Dell is in the first stage of
her faint hope application, having filed her prison records along
with his written submissions to Ontario’s Chief Superior Court
Justice Heather Forster Smith.
A yet-to-be appointed judge will review the
material, and if he or she feels there is a “substantial
likelihood” a jury would recommend early parole, a hearing will be
The jury then hears the evidence, and can
recommend that Dell receive early parole.
It is only then that the matter is referred to
the National Parole Board, who have the final say on when Dell
would be granted escorted and unescorted passes, work release, day
parole and, eventually, full parole.
The faint hope provisions of the Criminal Code
have since been abolished, although Dell is still eligible because
her conviction predated changes to the law.
“When the jury recommends immediate parole
eligibility, that just means you can get into the line,” said
“It means nothing whatsoever about opening the
steel doors and out you pop,” he said. “That is completely and
utterly a myth, if anyone holds that opinion.”
It typically takes four to five years before
full parole might be granted, Schroeder said.
That was little comfort to Scott Dell’s
90-year-old mother, Myra Dell.
Myra Dell called early release for her
“conniving” former daughter-in-law a “bad idea.”
“We were in the court the day the judge
sentenced here and he said no chance of parole for 25 years,” said
“We were so glad when she was put away. I can’t
imagine if she was out, I really can’t,” she added.
“You know how some people are in jail and you
have to feel sorry for them? All I felt for her was such a relief
that she was in there because she caused so much harm for
everyone. She really and truly did,” Dell said.
Myra Dell said she is most concerned for Scott
and Cherrylle’s children.
She said she fears the day Cherrylle is
Elsa Steenberg, a close friend of Scott Dell,
said there is “no way” Cherrylle Dell should be released early.
“I think of all the lives she’s ruined,” said
Schroeder said Dell was nearly killed in prison
after being attacked by another inmate with a metal rod shortly
after she was first incarcerated. The attack left Dell with
“devastating” physical and psychological injuries and delayed her
access to prison programming, Schroeder said.
But Dell has since earned certificates for
completing different rehabilitation programs, including cognitive
“Subsequently she’s completed numerous
psychological programs, and has received very positive
psychological assessments regarding her dealing with the offence
in particular and with respect to her future,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder said Dell has recently been
transferred to Ontario’s Grand Valley Institution for Women in
Kitchener to be closer to supportive family members and friends.
Dell is currently eligible for parole in 2022.
Schroeder said he wouldn’t be proceeding with
the application if he didn’t believe there was a chance it would
succeed. Legal Aid Ontario, who is funding the application, has
also reviewed and approved it.
“She’s a 58 year old woman who was convicted of
the most serious offence in the criminal code who has served in
excess of 15 years in the penitentiary and is now asking to get
into line to have the National Parole Board determine whether or
not the protection of the public can only be served by her
remaining behind bars,” said Schroeder.
Ex-wife loses antifreeze poisoning appeal
March 12, 2005
An eastern Ontario woman who poisoned her
estranged husband with antifreeze nearly 10 years ago has lost her
Cherylle Dell of Killaloe, Ont., was found
guilty in February 2001 of killing Scott Dell by tricking him into
drinking more than half a litre of wine mixed with ethylene
glycol. She was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole for
The three-judge Ontario Court of Appeal ruled
Friday the trial judge had made a reasonable verdict, based on
The court rejected defence arguments that the
Crown failed to prove the death was a homicide and that the trial
judge ignored physical evidence supporting the theory that Scott
Dell committed suicide.
They also noted that while in custody, Dell
told another inmate she "had" to put antifreeze in her estranged
husband's wine in December 1995 because he was "dying anyways."
At trial, the Crown argued Cherylle Dell had
persuaded her spouse to drink himself to death with what he
thought was homemade wine. The unemployed trucker was battling
throat cancer and had broken up with his girlfriend.
But the defence suggested the 44-year-old man
was lovesick and downtrodden, and had committed suicide.
Cherylle Dell was charged after her jilted
lesbian lover, Nancy Filmore, told police Dell had planned to kill
her husband with a laced bottle of Piat d'Or. Two years later,
Filmore was dead.
The Crown alleged Cherylle poisoned Scott to
gain his farm and custody of their three children.
The Crown also argued that she seduced Brent
Crawford, 19, into setting Filmore's house ablaze. The teen was
convicted of first-degree murder in 2001, and the Ontario Court of
Appeal upheld that decision last year.
An evil woman faces new charges
After poisoning her husband, Cherrylle Dell allegedly
arranged the murder of her lesbian lover
By Marnie Ko - Report
March 5, 2001
Scott and Cherrylle Dell married when he was 19
and she was 17. Their marriage was turbulent, and in 1992 they
separated after more than 20 years together. When Mr. Dell was
found dead in his Killaloe, Ont., farmhouse in the early hours of
December 29, 1995, it was considered a suicide. His intake of a
lethal dose of antifreeze-laced wine was blamed on depression due
to the separation and a diagnosis of cancer. But two years later,
to the astonishment of the small Ottawa Valley village, Cherrylle
Dell was charged with his death. And on January 26 of this year,
after a long and bizarre trial, Cherrylle Dell was convicted of
first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
The story is far from over, however. Next month
Dell, an ex-stripper, will again stand trial for first-degree
murder, this time in connection with an August 1997 fire that
killed her former lesbian lover, Nancy Fillmore. A now-19-year-old
boy from the Ottawa Valley who police believe acted as Dell's
accomplice in the Fillmore killing will also stand trial,
beginning April 2. The boy allegedly had a sexual relationship
with Dell, and at Dell's behest set the fire that killed Fillmore.
Dell's first murder trial began in Pembroke,
Ont., in November. The Crown presented 50 witnesses who painted
Dell as a vindictive, miserable, promiscuous and conniving woman
who had a grudge against her ex-husband. There was no jury. After
two months of gruelling testimony, Superior Court justice lames
Chadwick ruled Dell, now 47, wanted her husband dead and duped him
into drinking more than a pint of red wine laced with antifreeze.
(About four ounces of antifreeze is lethal.)
Court testimony described Mr. Dell, 44 when he
died, as an excellent husband and father. He was diagnosed with
throat cancer in the early 1990s, and after his death his
estranged wife told police that the cancer had recently flared up
again. She claimed she urged him to see a doctor. "He said he
wanted to stay home. He wanted to die on the farm," she told
police. But the autopsy found no trace of cancer in his body, and
witnesses would I later testify in court that he never mentioned
suicide. Other witnesses would testify Mr. Dell forgave his wife's
multiple infidelities, and harboured no grudge even after she
falsely accused him of sexually abusing their young adopted
daughter -- allegations which were proven false in court. During
her mother's murder trial, the girl testified she accused her
father only because her mother told her to. "It made me feel bad
because I knew it wasn't true," she said.
Court heard that Mr. Dell continued to love his
wife even after she left him for a woman she met at an incest
survivors' group. Cherrylle Dell and Gay Doherty were inseparable
until Ms. Doherty began to feel suffocated and broke off the
affair. She would later testify Dell became emotionally unstable
and overdosed on medication after the two split. Still, the women
kept in touch and visited sporadically, even after Cherrylle began
a new relationship with Nancy Fillmore, the children's nanny.
Fillmore and Dell soon became lovers and shared an apartment. One
day, while Ms. Doherty was visiting, Scott Dell failed to pick up
his children as scheduled. Ms. Doherty decided to check on him and
found his farmhouse lights on, the Christmas tree lit, and love
songs playing in the background. Mr. Dell was dead, clad only in a
blue sweater, his fingers a "really strange blue colour." Pages of
handwritten notes were found beside the phone and a half-empty
1.5-litre bottle of Piat d'Or wine rested on the desk. Prosecutors
would later allege Dell gave her husband poisoned wine as a
Christmas gift, and then kept him on the phone for hours while
waiting for him to die, presumably by hinting at a reconciliation.
Mr. Dell's notes provided the only clue to his
final hours. "What did you think was going to happen if I drank a
bottle of wine, listening to music we used to listen to?" he
wrote. "I'm going to think about you and me together. I feel like
holding you close to me like never before. I fell like making love
to you. I fell like all the bad stuff would go away. I was
probably supposed to die [of cancer] but my life was spared. I
don't know why ... our lives are going by so fast." Eventually he
put his pen down and took his last breath.
Meanwhile, Dell and Fillmore continued their
relationship until it soured in March 1997. Fillmore was forced to
take her former lover to court to retrieve her belongings.
Fillmore also alleged Dell locked her children in their rooms,
drugged them with sleeping medication and neglected them. Another
former friend of Cherrylle Dell's would later testify to the same
thing. Kim Knott told court Dell drugged the children with Gravol
and cold medicine at bedtime, and that on many occasions Mrs.
Knott had to wash the children's sheets after they soaked their
beds with urine. In further testimony, Mrs. Knott alleged Dell
constantly bad-mouthed her husband and had wanted him dead for
some time, once mentioning her interest in hiring a hit man. Mrs.
Knott told police Dell wondered aloud how much antifreeze would be
needed to kill a human.
It was Fillmore, though, who provided police
with the information that led to Dell's arrest. Fillmore told
police she purchased wine and antifreeze at Dell's request. She
said she watched as Dell mixed the two together and later offered
the bottle to her husband as a gift. "I was freaking out and [Cherrylle]
kept telling me to shut up," she recalled in a videotaped
interview with police. Fillmore alleged Dell told her to keep
quiet, otherwise Fillmore might be seen as the jealous lover who
poisoned Mr. Dell. After giving her husband the bottle of poisoned
wine, alleged Fillmore, Dell "got out her witchcraft books and lit
candles and was saying ... weird ... rituals or prayers.
Additional information Fillmore provided
resulted in further charges against Dell for fraud, falsifying
academic credentials and misleading police.
Fillmore was scheduled to appear as the lead
witness in Dell's murder trial. Five months after going to police,
however, she was killed in a fire. The judge would eventually rule
against allowing videotapes of the deceased woman to be introduced
as evidence in court. Testimony by the alleged teenage accomplice
in the fire was also ruled inadmissible. Although he later
recanted his confessions to police and his parents, at the time
the youth provided graphic details about his claimed role in
murdering Fillmore. A letter police found, allegedly in his
handwriting, described how he found Nancy Fillmore lying on the
floor drunk, with candles burning. "So instead of cutting her
neck, I flipped over all the tables with the candles and leave,"
the letter read. The boy will stand trial under the Young
Offenders Act and is expected to plead not guilty. At the time of
his police interviews, however, he alleged Dell told him to kill
Fillmore and offered him $300 and a motorcycle as payment. He
allegedly told his mother in a taped phone call from jail that he
had been smoking marijuana with Dell and killed Fillmore while he
was high because "she was going to testify against someone in
court ... she was the star witness."
In his 86-page decision, the judge described
Dell as a bitter, conniving woman and said there was no doubt
Scott Dell was murdered by poisoning. "I find that from 1992
onward Cherrylle Dell expressed a hatred towards her husband and
wished him dead. She wanted the exclusive custody of the children,
sole occupation and possession of the farm, and wanted [her
husband] out of her life forever," concluded Mr. Justice Chadwick.
"There is seldom a case where we hear such strong and consistent
evidence about the character of a deceased person. [Mr. Dell] was
very positive about his life and his love for his children. He
wanted to live."
'Angel' of Death gets life in prison
'Cherrylle Dell wanted Scott Dell out of her
By Peter Hum - The Ottawa
February 3, 2001
Cherrylle Dell was found guilty yesterday of
murdering her husband, Scott, by poisoning him with antifreeze, to
the surprise of onlookers who packed a tense Ottawa courtroom.
"I don't believe it," said Mr. Dell's mother,
Myra, after Ontario Superior Court Justice James Chadwick gave his
reasons for convicting her daughter-in-law, who is known as
"Angel" in jail. "We went in with misgivings. We thought it would
go either way ... even though we knew she was guilty," she said.
The first-degree conviction, which meant that
Mrs. Dell was immediately sentenced to life behind bars with no
chance of parole for 25 years, concludes a two-month trial that
has held rapt the Ottawa Valley, where the Dells lived, because of
its bizarre details. It had also been the buzz of the Ottawa
courthouse because, to many onlookers, including Mr. Dell's
relatives, it seemed that Mrs. Dell might be acquitted.
The defence had argued that Mr. Dell, 44, who
was found dead on Dec. 29, 1995, in his Killaloe farmhouse, and
who had ingested wine laced with antifreeze, had committed suicide
in a fit of depression. The Crown's circumstantial case was so
bizarre and full of holes as to be unfeasible, the defence argued.
But Judge Chadwick, who presided over the
non-jury case, was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Mrs.
Dell duped her husband into drinking what he called a "lethal
Reading a summary from his 89-page decision,
Judge Chadwick said: "I find that from 1992 onward Cherrylle Dell
expressed a hatred towards her husband Scott Dell and wished him
dead," the judge said.
"She wanted the exclusive custody of the
children, the sole occupation and possession of the farm, and
wanted Scott Dell out of her life forever.
"There is seldom a case where we hear such
strong and consistent evidence about the character of a deceased
person. Scott Dell ... was very positive about his life and his
love for his children. He wanted to live for his children.
"I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that
Scott Dell did not commit suicide but was murdered by poisoning."
"The evidence of Scott Dell's friends confirmed
he could not let Cherrylle Dell go. He felt he was her caregiver.
As a result, she was able to manipulate him into doing anything
"The only inference I can draw when I look at
all of the evidence is that Cherrylle Dell knew the wine Scott
Dell was drinking was laced with antifreeze and that the effects
of drinking the lethal cocktail would be death."
The judge noted that Mrs. Dell fabricated
elaborate tales to cover up her crime, hoping to convince
acquaintances and police that her estranged husband had either
died of cancer, which had plagued him months earlier, or that he
had killed himself.
He also noted that Mrs. Dell had several
motives to kill her husband, including financial gain she thought
would be her due, and sole custody of their young children.
The powerful decision left Mr. Dell's mother,
aunt and sisters in tears.
Cherrylle Dell, 46, sullen throughout her
trial, wiped her eyes after being convicted but said nothing when
the judge gave her an opportunity to speak.
As she was being led out of the courtroom, the
convicted killer glanced at her mother and mouthed: "I love you,
Mom. I love you."
The decision came as a surprise to some because
defence lawyers Robert Selkirk and Michael March won key legal
arguments during the trial.
They were successful in arguing the trial be
heard before a judge rather than a jury. (A jury is thought to be
more easily swayed by "bad character" evidence such as the
testimony regarding Mrs. Dell's promiscuity, drug use, poor
parenting and freeloading during the trial.)
Mrs. Dell's lawyers also successfully argued
that significant Crown evidence be found inadmissable.
Judge Chadwick ruled that videotaped police
interviews of Mrs. Dell's lesbian lover, Nancy Fillmore, were
inadmissable because they were insufficiently reliable. Ms.
Fillmore told police she bought the wine and antifreeze Mr. Dell
drank and watched Mrs. Dell mix the two.
Ms. Fillmore, 37, died in an August 1997 fire.
Mrs. Dell is charged with first-degree murder
in connection with that death, and her preliminary hearing is to
begin this month.
Judge Chadwick also excluded a videotaped
police interview with Brent Crawford, a Killaloe teenager. Mr.
Crawford said that Mrs. Dell asked him to set the fire that killed
Ms. Fillmore. However, he testified to the contrary at Mrs. Dell's
trial and the judge found his videotaped interview insufficiently
Mr. Crawford's first-degree murder trial is to
begin April 2.
The judge also disallowed evidence from Dr.
Antoon Leenaars, a Windsor psychologist and expert in suicide, who
offered his opinion that Mr. Dell did not commit suicide.
Outside court, defence lawyer Mr. Selkirk said
he and his client were disappointed.
"I thought we had established a case ... The
judge found to the contrary," he said.
Mr. Selkirk said the case would be referred to
Toronto lawyers, who will weigh whether to appeal.
Pembroke Crown attorney Peter Barnes and OPP
Det.-Const. Ken Leppert, the lead investigator in the case, had no
Dell's lawyers succeed again in striking evidence
Judge rules man was 'threatened' during police
By Peter Hum - The Ottawa
January 6, 2001
Cherrylle Dell's defence lawyers have succeeded
again in convincing a judge to exclude evidence that implicates
the 46-year-old Killaloe woman in the killing of her husband.
Ontario Superior Court Justice James Chadwick
ruled yesterday that a crucial videotaped interview was not
reliable enough to be considered as evidence. The tape records
Mrs. Dell's acquaintance, Brent Crawford, telling police that Mrs.
Dell was behind not one, but two, murders.
Mr. Crawford was not then under oath, and in
fact, refused to swear an oath, the judge noted.
Judge Chadwick was also doubtful about whether
Mr. Crawford's statement was really voluntary. When police
questioned the 19-year-old Killaloe man in July 1999, they
manipulated and tacitly threatened him, the judge ruled.
"They stroked his ego, made him feel like a
big-shot, a big-shot criminal and a folk hero, for probably the
only time in his life," Judge Chadwick noted. "They certainly took
advantage of his low self-esteem."
The ruling left Mrs. Dell's lawyers relieved
and pleased as the trial, which began Nov. 20, nears its
conclusion. Mrs. Dell is accused of killing her estranged husband,
Scott, in December 1995 by duping him into drinking wine laced
When the trial began, the court spent days
pondering a March 1997 police videotape, in which Mrs. Dell's
ex-lover, Nancy Fillmore, told police that Mrs. Dell fatally
poisoned her husband.
Justice Chadwick ruled out that videotape
because it was insufficiently reliable. The spurned Ms. Fillmore
had several motives to lie, he noted.
Ms. Fillmore could not testify in person
because she died in an August 1997 fire. Mr. Crawford is charged
with first-degree murder, accused of setting the fire. Mrs. Dell
is also accused of the first-degree murder of her ex-lover, by
putting Mr. Crawford up to setting the fire. They face separate
The Crown wanted to bring in as much evidence
as possible regarding the death of Ms. Fillmore to the current
trial, hoping to show that Ms. Fillmore died because Mrs. Dell
wanted to silence the key witness against her in the death of Mr.
Defence lawyer Robert Selkirk said the judge's
ruling will simplify and focus the trial. "We can now get back to
what we're really here about, which is the death of Scott Dell,"
Contrary to his denials on the witness stand
last month, Mr. Crawford had told police that he set fire to Ms.
Fillmore's apartment because Mrs. Dell asked him to.
But Judge Chadwick said he had seven concerns
about the voluntariness of the statement. The "main concern," he
said, was that police told Mr. Crawford that if he did not confirm
their theory regarding Ms. Fillmore's death and give them facts,
then his fellow prisoners might suspect that he also committed
sexual offences against Ms. Fillmore. That would imperil his
safety in prison.
"This was a veiled threat," Judge Chadwick
The trial resumes Jan. 15. Mr. Barnes has just
a few witnesses left to call, and Mr. Selkirk said yesterday that
the defence will call witnesses. He also said he expects Justice
Chadwick will have heard all of the evidence by Jan. 23 or 24.
Among the remaining witnesses is an expert on
suicide. Mr. Dell was originally thought to have killed himself,
after Mrs. Dell told authorities that he had been depressed
because cancer continued to ravage his body -- but a post-mortem
showed this wasn't true.
Dell performed 'voodoo thing' on doll, court hears
Woman charged with killing husband made doll to look like him:
By Peter Hum - The Ottawa
December 6, 2000
PEMBROKE -- With her years of celibacy long
behind her, Gay Doherty embarked on a relationship with Cherrylle
Dell, expecting sophisticated lesbian love in the Ottawa Valley.
"I thought I was going to have a smart, New
York cocktail kind of affair," Ms. Doherty testified here
Instead, she became involved with a Killaloe
woman she said once performed a bizarre, voodoo-like ritual on a
home-made doll made to resemble her estranged husband.
"She went and purchased ... some kind of waxy
material and did this voodoo thing, made it look like Scott, and
put ropes and ribbons and pins in it, said certain things over it,
and then I think she buried it," Ms. Doherty said.
About 3 1/2 years after Ms. Doherty broke up
the Dell marriage, she was the person who discovered Mr. Dell's
poisoned, lifeless body, curled in a fetal position on the floor
of his son's room.
"I started screaming, 'He's here, he's here,' "
Ms. Doherty said.
Her former lover, now 46, is charged with
first-degree murder in connection with the Dec. 29, 1995, death of
Mr. Dell, the father of their three children. Mr. Dell died after
drinking wine laced with antifreeze, and his death was originally
thought to be a suicide.
Pembroke Crown attorney Peter Barnes hopes to
prove Mrs. Dell duped her husband into drinking from a bottle of
poisoned Piat d'Or so she could claim his farm.
A U.S. citizen born in New York, Ms. Doherty
had come to the Pembroke area at 18. From 1971 to 1985, she worked
for the Roman Catholic Church, making a promise to be celibate and
obedient, similar to a nun's vows. In the mid-1980s, she found
that she needed to leave her "rarefied" calling and "experience
life." She received a bishop's dispensation and some years later,
according to documents filed in court, Ms. Doherty met Mrs. Dell
at an incest survivors' group in the early 1990s.
"We were attracted to one another," said Ms.
Doherty, 51. "Eventually, we became involved."
Mrs. Dell left her husband and children for Ms.
Doherty, although Ms. Doherty testified that after three months,
she herself wanted to end the relationship.
"I desperately wanted out," Ms. Doherty said.
"I felt like my life was being totally consumed."
She said that she stayed with Mrs. Dell because
she cared for the Dell children. "They were important to me. They
were the only reason I remained in that relationship."
Ms. Doherty said that when she raised leaving
the relationship with Mrs. Dell, Mrs. Dell took an overdose of
medication and ripped up a gift of poetry that Ms. Doherty had
written for her.
Ms. Doherty did leave Mrs. Dell in 1994 but
they kept in touch. Ms. Doherty learned that Mr. Dell had been
diagnosed with cancer, and that his illness pleased Mrs. Dell,
"She didn't seem to be upset by it," she
testified. "It felt like an answer to a prayer. The guy would die.
She would get what she wanted."
Ms. Doherty said that in October 1995, when she
lived in Texas, Mrs. Dell called to say that she was planning to
buy a house, and to sell Mr. Dell's farm house, which she would
inherit when he died. "She fully expected he would die," she said.
Ms. Doherty visited Mrs. Dell that Christmas.
On Dec. 28, she visited Mrs. Dell at the rented house she shared
with her new lover, Nancy Fillmore. For the entire visit, Mrs.
Dell ignored Ms. Doherty, preferring to speak on the telephone.
"She was speaking to Scott," Ms. Doherty said.
The next day, Ms. Doherty visited again. Court
heard that Mrs. Dell then told her that she had spoken to Mr. Dell
continuously until 4 a.m. Mrs. Dell told Ms. Doherty that Mr.
Dell's doctor had given him drastic news and that he would die in
the next few days.
Mr. Dell was to come by that night to pick up
his children, but he did not arrive. Ms. Doherty offered to check
on him at his farm. She went there and found a cold, dark house,
with the Christmas lights still on and a record still spinning on
the record player, court heard. "I started becoming really
apprehensive," she said.
She returned to Mrs. Dell's house, saying she
wanted someone to return with her to search Mr. Dell's home and
property. Neither Mrs. Dell nor Ms. Fillmore wanted to go, she
According to Ms. Doherty, Mrs. Dell responded:
"I can't cope. I can't cope. I can't cope."
Ms. Doherty returned to the house with two male
friends and found Mr. Dell's body upstairs, naked but for a blue
She noted that in a downstairs hallway there
was a bottle of wine beside a telephone on a desk, and in a nearby
wine glass there was an "oily substance."
She said that when she went back to Mrs. Dell's
house, Mrs. Dell had already been told by a phone caller that her
husband was dead. "(She) seemed to have no reaction at all. She
asked what he looked like," Ms. Doherty said.
Under cross-examination, Ms. Doherty said she
had also considered Mrs. Dell to have been "dazed" and "in shock"
by the news.
The final minutes of court time yesterday were
spent examining eight 1.5-litre Piat d'Or wine bottles that had
been prepared by a police officer. The bottles contained various
mixtures of wine and Prestone antifreeze. There was little
difference in the appearance of the green bottles. But when their
contents were decanted, some mixes ranged in colour from almost
fluorescent green to a light yellow depending on the amount of
antifreeze that had been included.
At the request of Ontario Superior Court
Justice James Chadwick, who is hearing the case without a jury,
OPP Const. Colin Reinke sniffed at a glass that had been poured
from a bottle containing a two-to-one mix of wine and antifreeze.
It smelled like wine, the officer said.
In the prisoner's box, Mrs. Dell paid rapt
attention to the multicoloured display of liquids, at one point
standing to gain a better view.
The trial, which began Nov. 20, resumes today.
Judge Chadwick said he hopes to give his decision before the end
Court hears dying man's final thoughts
Scott Dell scribbled notes while drinking
By Peter Hum - The Ottawa
November 23, 2000
PEMBROKE -- As Linda Ronstadt crooned love
songs in the background, Scott Dell scribbled down the musings of
a dying man.
It was early in the morning of Dec. 29, 1995,
and he had only hours left to live, although if police and a
prosecutor are correct, Mr. Dell did not know it.
Instead, the 44-year-old Killaloe man
apparently sat by the telephone, talking occasionally to his
estranged wife, drinking wine she had allegedly given him,
committing to paper the thoughts in his head and his side of
Mr. Dell's handwritten notes, seized when
police investigated his death, were made public yesterday in the
courtroom where Cherrylle Dell stands accused of fatally poisoning
her spouse with a gift of antifreeze-laced white wine. Mrs. Dell,
now 46, has pleaded not guilty to a count of first-degree murder.
"What did you think was going to happen if I
drank a bottle of wine, listening to music we used to listen to?
I'm going to think about you and me together," Mr. Dell wrote.
"I feel like holding you close to me like never
before. I feel like making love to you. I feel like all the bad
stuff would go away. You and I are stuck because of all the bad
stuff that has happened to us (in the) last three years. We need
to make it go away," he wrote.
On the last of three pages, Mr. Dell, who in
the mid-1990s was diagnosed as having cancer, wrote: "I was
probably supposed to die but my life was spared. I don't know why.
That bothers me.
"Our lives are going by so fast," he concluded.
Apparently, he then put down his pen, went upstairs, and died.
Mr. Dell's death was originally ruled a
suicide. An Ottawa pathologist found the cause of death to be
ethylene glycol poisoning and noted there was "no evidence of
But in March 1997, a woman who had been Mrs.
Dell's live-in lover when Mr. Dell died, went to police and told
them that Mrs. Dell had given her husband antifreeze-laced wine to
take home, and urged him to drink it so that he would have
spiritual visions of their future. Mrs. Dell was charged with
murder in December 1997.
Ontario Superior Court Justice James Chadwick,
who is hearing the case instead of a jury, will determine in the
next few days if the videotaped statements of that woman, Nancy
Fillmore, are to be admitted as evidence.
Ms. Fillmore is also dead, having perished at
age 40 in an August 1997 fire, five months after she broke up with
Mrs. Dell and went to police. Mrs. Dell faces another first-degree
murder charge and trial in connection with Ms. Fillmore's death.
In addition to Mr. Dell's final writings,
Pembroke Crown sttorney Peter Barnes also made public the initial
statements to police given by Mrs. Dell and Gay Doherty, the woman
who discovered Mr. Dell's body.
Ms. Doherty, who was Mrs. Dell's lover prior to
Ms. Fillmore, told police she found Mr. Dell lying in a fetal
position, naked from the waist down and with a sweater on. Mr.
Dell, she told police, was "a really funny colour, like grey," and
his fingers were "a really strange blue colour."
"I noted a bottle of wine sitting on a little
desk with a phone in the hallway," Ms. Doherty said. "There was a
liquid in it which did not look like wine, or something strange
added to it.
"We did notice some writing paper beside the
phone," she continued. "We tried to read it but it did not make
Mrs. Dell told police she had spoken to her
husband on the phone the night before he was found dead.
"Scott called me. He sounded really down and
really depressed. He spoke about a friend (who) had hung himself.
He mentioned dreams and that he would wake up and the dream was
going on. He talked about lots of things and sounded slurry. He
didn't sound right. He sounded like he had been drinking.
"I believe the last time I spoke with him was
around 4 a.m ... He sounded fine. He had perked up. He was going
to go to bed, go to sleep," she told police.
The next day, Mr. Dell did not show up to pick
up his children, and Ms. Doherty, after speaking to Mrs. Dell,
went to Mr. Dell's house, her statement says.
Defence lawyer Robert Selkirk yesterday called
several witnesses in an effort to discredit Ms. Fillmore and
convince Judge Chadwick to declare her videotaped statements
inadmissible. Mr. Selkirk is expected to argue today that Ms.
Fillmore had motives to lie to police, including her own
"vendetta" against Mrs. Dell.
However, prosecution witness Kim Meisel, who
befriended Ms. Fillmore before she died, testified otherwise. "She
(Ms. Fillmore) was in love with her (Mrs. Dell). She loved her ...
but at the same time she was afraid for her life," Ms. Meisel
said. "She knew she wouldn't make it here today to testify," she
Court heard that, in addition to making
allegations against Mrs. Dell to police, Ms. Fillmore went to
Family and Child Services authorities and the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in late March and April 1997. Ms.
Fillmore alleged that Mrs. Dell gave her children sleeping
medication and neglected them, although she was willing to spend
$200 on a beauty treatment.
Family services worker Nisha Stoparczyk told
the court that upon visiting Mrs. Dell, she found adequate food in
the house and no locks on the children's doors as alleged. She
also said that Mrs. Dell told her she had been expecting the
Mrs. Dell also said she had had a baby named
Bijoula, who was now in Jamaica with its father, Ms. Stoparczyk
said. Mrs. Dell's other children said they had seen Bijoula, court
However, Ms. Fillmore told police that Bijoula
didn't exist, and that Mrs. Dell, anxious to have a baby,
concocted a hoax about a non-existent baby. Mrs. Dell had thought
of several plans to obtain one, including kidnapping a stranger's
child, Ms. Fillmore said.
The trial, which is expected to last until late
January, continues today.
Accused killer practised 'weird' rituals'
Cherrylle Dell got out witchcraft books after
giving husband lethal wine, court hears
By Peter Hum - The Ottawa
November 22, 2000
PEMBROKE -- To hear Nancy Fillmore speak, the
death of John Scott Dell was a New Age killing, with witchcraft
and visions of angels accompanying wine spiked with a lethal dose
"You mentioned about her (Cherrylle Dell)
carrying out some sort of witchcraft rituals prior to giving the
bottle to him?" then Det.-Const. Ken Leppert asked Ms. Fillmore in
a 1997 interview.
"No. It was right after," Ms. Fillmore said.
"She got out her witchcraft books and lit candles and was saying
all these weird, I don't know, what you call them, rituals or
prayers or whatever.
"They don't make sense to me because that's not
what I believe in," she said.
Several of Ms. Fillmore's videotaped statements
to police were entered as evidence yesterday at the first-degree
murder trial of Ms. Dell. The 46-year-old Killaloe woman has
pleaded not guilty to killing her estranged husband, who was found
dead in his home in late December 1995.
Mr. Dell, a 44-year-old man who had cancer, was
found to have died after drinking wine laced with antifreeze. His
death was originally declared a suicide, until Mrs. Dell was
charged with first-degree murder in December 1997.
Ms. Fillmore, who was Mrs. Dell's lover when
Mr. Dell died, died in an August 1997 fire. Mrs. Dell faces
another first-degree murder charge and trial in connection with
Ms. Fillmore's death. The second murder charge was laid this
Since the trial pertaining to Mr. Dell's death
began this week, the Crown has submitted four videotapes and
transcripts of police interviews with Ms. Fillmore for the
consideration of Ontario Superior Court Justice James Chadwick,
who is hearing the case. In an exception for murder trials, a jury
is not sitting.
In the present trial, the videotaped interviews
of Ms. Fillmore are the subject of a voir dire -- a trial within a
trial. Judge Chadwick is to rule in the next few days on the
admissibility of the police tapes.
The case has been the talk of the Ottawa Valley
for years, not simply because of the bisexual love triangle and
the deaths of Mrs. Dell's lovers, but also because Mrs. Dell was a
flamboyant, attractive woman known by Killaloe residents for her
According to transcripts filed in court, Ms.
Fillmore told police that on the last night of his life, Mr. Dell
had apparently come to Mrs. Dell's house at her request.
Mrs. Dell told him that she had had a dream
that he would have spiritual visions after drinking wine and she
gave him a bottle of Piat D'Or, Ms. Fillmore said.
"She said she was trying to help him on his
spiritual journey," Ms. Fillmore told police. "She was loaning him
books and one of them was this (The) Celestine Prophecy, and it
was about important coincidences in your life.
"So she used that in this dialogue ... 'this is
an important coincidence -- I had a dream, you're supposed to
drink some wine and have visions and I just happen to have a
bottle of wine,' " Ms. Fillmore said.
After Mr. Dell returned to his home with the
bottle, he began phoning Mrs. Dell almost hourly, Ms. Fillmore
"He said he had just started drinking the wine.
He was listening to their old music on the record player. He was
doing a lot of thinking," she said.
"She (Mrs. Dell) said she would keep the
answering machine off or sit right by the phone all night until he
just needed to stop talking," Ms. Fillmore continued.
"His last call, she said, was at five o'clock
in the morning. No, I came back downstairs. Yes, because I had
heard her actually say, 'Are you all right?'
"He was saying ... 'You're here with me. I can
see your angel spirit,' " Ms. Fillmore said. "I don't know if this
is part of these visions of if he was just making it up. Or if
things were getting to him ... by drinking the wine with the
antifreeze, like I think he was losing his mind."
Ms. Fillmore, a former Ottawa woman who met
Mrs. Dell in the spring of 1995 after placing a Citizen personals
ad and then moved in with her, also told police that she bought
the antifreeze and wine for Mrs. Dell.
She said that after Mr. Dell died, Mrs. Dell
told her that if word of the poisoning got out, then Ms. Fillmore
would be blamed, since she fit the role of a jealous lover.
Ms. Fillmore and Mrs. Dell broke up and Ms.
Fillmore moved out of Mrs. Dell's house a few weeks before she
spoke to police, court has heard.
Ms. Fillmore recounted a number of exchanges
she had with Mrs. Dell. She said that in one, Mrs. Dell said:
"This is how you end all your relationships, don't you?" Her reply
was: "Well, at least I don't kill them."
Defence lawyer Robert Selkirk said yesterday
that he intends to call evidence today suggesting that Ms.
Fillmore was "on a vendetta" against his client, who apparently
had begun a relationship with a man in the hopes of having a baby
just before her spurned lesbian lover went to police.
Mr. Selkirk contended that Ms. Fillmore, in
addition to contacting police with her allegations, went to the
Children's Aid Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals, hoping to have authorities seize Mrs. Dell's children
and pets. Ms. Fillmore wanted Mrs. Dell to feel as she did,
"dumped on the side of the road," Mr. Selkirk argued.
However, Mr. Selkirk later did state that his
client "essentially ... was running a puppy mill."
The trial, which is expected to last until late
January, is to resume today.
Ex-lover 'testifies' from the grave
In taped interviews, Cherrylle Dell is accused of spouse's
By Peter Hum - The Ottawa
November 21, 2000
PEMBROKE -- A dead woman told tales in a
courtroom yesterday, accusing her ex-lover, Cherrylle Dell, of
Although Nancy Fillmore died in a fire more
than two years ago, the 39-year-old Killaloe woman was interviewed
by police months before she died. Yesterday, videotaped interviews
were played in court at the first-degree murder trial of Mrs.
Dell, in which Ms. Fillmore stated that Mrs. Dell duped her
estranged husband, Scott Dell, into drinking wine laced with
"I watched her pour the antifreeze into the
wine," Ms. Fillmore was heard to say. "I was freaking out and she
kept telling me to shut up. I went along with it."
Mrs. Dell, 46, has pleaded not guilty to
first-degree murder in the death of Mr. Dell, who was found dead
in his home after Christmas in 1995. He was 44 and had cancer, and
police originally said his death was a suicide.
Mrs. Dell also faces a separate first-degree
murder charge and trial in connection with the August 1997 death
of Ms. Fillmore. In the present trial, the videotaped interviews
of Ms. Fillmore are the subject of a voir dire -- a trial within a
trial -- before Ontario Superior Court Justice James Chadwick, who
is hearing the case. A jury is not sitting, and Judge Chadwick is
to rule at a later date on the admissibility of the police tapes.
The case has been the talk of the Ottawa Valley
for years, not simply because of the bisexual love triangle, but
also because Mrs. Dell was a flamboyant, attractive woman known by
Killaloe residents for her outlandish stories and colourful
During her March 18, 1997 statement to police,
Ms. Fillmore said that Mrs. Dell was her common-law partner when
Mr. Dell died. She said that Mrs. Dell at first spoke of wanting
to shoot Mr. Dell during hunting season. "She said she could
shoot," Ms. Fillmore said. "Her father taught her how to shoot."
Court heard that according to Ms. Fillmore,
Mrs. Dell later opted to poison Mr. Dell with antifreeze. Mrs.
Dell went so far as to conceal her identity and consult the Poison
Control Centre to determine how much antifreeze would be lethal,
Ms. Fillmore told police.
Ms. Fillmore said that Mr. Dell, while
estranged and aware of Mrs. Dell's lesbian affair, wanted to
reunite with his wife of more than 20 years and the mother of
their children. Meanwhile, Mrs. Dell, who had met Ms. Fillmore in
the spring of 1995 through a Citizen personals ad, manipulated Mr.
Dell. "I saw her play him for a fool so many times," Ms. Fillmore
Ms. Fillmore said that while Mr. Dell was once
an atheist, he had become more concerned with spirituality. Mrs.
Dell, she said, told her spouse that she had had a dream which
foretold that he would have visions of their future if he drank
wine that she gave him.
Ms. Fillmore said that Mr. Dell visited his
wife a few days after Christmas in 1995, took the proferred bottle
of Piat D'Or, and went home. He telephoned Mrs. Dell several times
that night, Ms. Fillmore told police.
Mr. Dell was soon discovered dead, his record
player playing, his Christmas lights on, court heard.
Mrs. Dell told Ms. Fillmore to keep the
poisoning a secret, court heard. According to Ms. Fillmore, Mrs.
Dell said that Ms. Fillmore, jealous lover that she was, would be
blamed for the poisoning were it to come to light.
Ms. Fillmore is seen to cry and sob during the
police videotape, and Mrs. Dell in the prisoner's box also
appeared emotional as the tape was played, dabbing at her eyes
with a tissue.
Ms. Fillmore accused Mrs. Dell of killing Mr.
Dell in the second of two police videotapes played in court
yesterday. In the first, given hours earlier on March 18, 1997,
Ms. Fillmore said that Mrs. Dell months after Mr. Dell's death was
consumed with the idea of having another baby, and was especially
keen on a black baby.
Mrs. Dell hatched tried to obtain a child by
duping authorities into thinking that her infant, Bijoula Starr
Dell, had been abducted, Ms. Fillmore told police. The child never
existed, although Mrs. Dell coached Ms. Fillmore into telling
authorities that she had assisted in delivering the baby at home,
Ms. Fillmore told police.
Mrs. Dell, Ms. Fillmore told police, also
placed classified ads hoping to meet a black man. Eventually she
did, court heard. "I knew it was insanity," Ms. Fillmore told
Ms. Fillmore told police that when she first
met Mrs. Dell, she had thought her to be sweet and gentle. Over
time, she came to wonder if Mrs. Dell was with her for her money.
Police were told that Mrs. Dell eventually was bitter, sarcastic
and verbally abusive.
During the March 1997 interview, Ms. Fillmore
told police that she left Mrs. Dell's home about three weeks
earlier. "I felt trapped. She blew up," she said.
Before the videotapes were played in court,
Pembroke Crown attorney Peter Barnes conceded that Ms. Fillmore
had several reasons to lie to police. "She had been disappointed
in love," he said.
The two women, Mr. Barnes also noted, were in
small claims court -- Ms. Fillmore was suing Mrs. Dell for $6,000
she said she had given her.
Defence lawyer Robert Selkirk commented that
Ms. Fillmore's story was filled with the stuff of small-town
gossip. "This knowledge was out on the street," he said.
The voir dire continues today.
Killaloe woman pleads not guilty in husband's killing
Jurors selected in sensational Pembroke murder
By Peter Hum - The Ottawa
October, 3, 2000
PEMBROKE -- A Killaloe woman pleaded not guilty
yesterday in the death of her estranged husband before jurors were
selected for her upcoming murder trial.
From dozens of people screened for potential
bias, 12 jurors were selected yesterday to hear evidence next
month at the murder trial of Cherrylle Dell.
Eight men and four women are to hear evidence
when the 45-year-old woman's trial begins Nov. 6.
Before jurors were selected yesterday, Ms. Dell
resolutely pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder
in connection with the December 1995 death of her husband, Scott
Mr. Dell, 44, died after drinking a mixture of
wine and antifreeze.
Media attention in the Ottawa Valley after Mrs.
Dell was charged prompted the court to take special measures in
selecting a jury.
Eight hundred people were notified to report
this week, 200 a day, to be in the jury pool. However, 12 jurors
were found yesterday, and Justice James Chadwick said he would
notify potential jurors slated to appear at the Pembroke
courthouse tomorrow and Thursday that they would not be needed.
Three more people are to be selected today as
The gathering of 200 people was so large
yesterday that initial legal proceedings had to be held at the
Fellowship Hall of Wesley United Church, beside the Pembroke
Each of the 60 potential jurors yesterday was
subjected to questioning to determine whether pre-trial publicity
and talk in the community had tainted them.
A few responded that they would have been
unable to try the case without bias, and they were excused.
Other potential jurors were rejected by the
lawyers involved in the case.
When the trial begins, it is expected to last
as long as seven weeks. This month, Judge Chadwick is to hold
hearings to determine the admissibility of certain evidence.
More than 60 people are listed as prospective
Woman faces second murder charge in death of
Small town shocked
By Joanne Laucius - The Ottawa
March 14, 2000
OTTAWA - An Ontario woman who was charged three
years ago with murdering her estranged husband was yesterday
charged with first-degree murder in the death of a female friend.
Cherrylle Margaret Dell, 44, is alleged to have
killed Nancy Fillmore, 39, who died of smoke inhalation in a fire
that destroyed her apartment in August, 1997. The two women, both
of Killaloe, Ont., are former roommates, however it is not clear
if they were living together at the time of Ms. Fillmore's death.
In December, 1997, Ms. Dell was charged in the
first-degree murder of her estranged husband, Scott Dell, 44, who
died after drinking ethylene glycol, or antifreeze.
The substance was found in a partially-filled
glass and a bottle of red wine in his remote farmhouse.
The macabre nature of the deaths and the
subsequent charges have shocked residents of Killaloe, a village
in the Ottawa Valley about 140 km from the nation's capital.
Mr. Dell had come to the Ottawa Valley in the
1960s while trying to avoid the draft in his native U.S. The
couple had been married in Oshawa when Mr. Dell was 19 and Ms.
Dell was 17. The couple moved to the Killaloe area about 10 years
ago and were known in the village for their tumultuous
Mr. Dell was described by neighbours as the
perfect house husband and a loving father, cooking and baking
bread, growing vegetables in his garden and even taping his voice
reading stories to the children after his speech was affected by
Friends and family of Mr. Dell said he was
deeply in love with his wife, forgiving her for an affair with
another man and, according to one friend, for later leaving him
for a female companion.
At one point in their relationship, Ms. Dell
had claimed that Mr. Dell was abusing their children. Child
welfare authorities removed the children from his custody until
the allegations were proved to be false in court.
The charge lead to animosity between Ms. Dell
and her husband's family. Mr. Dell's mother, Myra, stood up and
walked out of her son's funeral service when Ms. Dell stood up and
said, "I'm Scott's wife."
Ms. Dell, who is now in custody on the first
murder charge, is scheduled to appear in court March 28.