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HomeBusinessEx-B.C. Lion guilty of second degree murder

Ex-B.C. Lion guilty of second degree murder


Bob Mackin

Former B.C. Lions wide receiver Josh Boden killed his ex-girlfriend because he blamed her for ending his Canadian Football League career, a B.C. Supreme Court judge concluded on Nov. 4.

Ex-B.C. Lion Josh Boden: guilty of second degree murder

Justice Barry Davies found Josh Boden, a 2006 and 2007 member of the Lions, guilty of second degree murder in the March 15, 2009 beating and choking of 33-year-old Kimberly Hallgarth in her Burnaby home.

“The root is the loss of the football career, that he blamed her for that loss,” Davies said. “There is also convincing evidence that he sought monetary recompense from her because of that loss. Although Mr. Boden submits that the career of a Canadian Football League player is not particularly lucrative, the fact that his continued assertion and pursuit of a debt owed to him by Ms. Hallgarth over the loss speaks volumes of his continued resentment.”

Former BC Lions coach Wally Buono testified in February that Hallgarth had contacted him in 2008 and showed photographs of her injuries inflicted by Boden and the damage he did to her vehicle. That prompted Buono to cut Boden, a product of Carson Graham secondary in North Vancouver, from the team. Boden attempted a comeback later that year with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but did not see action.

The only witness to the killing was Heidi Nissen, the mother of two of Boden’s children. Nissen testified that she had a tumultuous relationship with Boden that she described as that of a “pimp and ho,” due to her dabbling in street prostitution to provide Boden money.

Kimberly Hallgarth

After one of many beatings by Boden, Nissen finally sought refuge in a safe house. On March 15, 2009, she spoke with Hallgarth and traveled to her house to tell her about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Boden. But Boden was there when she arrived. A dispute ensued and Boden tried to strangle Nissen, who testified that she regained consciousness only to find Boden stomping on Hallgarth.

Not only did Boden kill his ex-girlfriend, Davies said, he “also tried to cover up his acts by attempting to stage the crime scene to look like Ms. Hallgarth died accidentally after ingesting drugs.” Boden also lied to police, claiming he was in Surrey. But cell phone records showed he was in Burnaby and his fingerprints were found at the crime scene.

Boden’s defence lawyer Kevin Westell raised questions about the credibility of Nissen, who had recanted in 2009. He also suggested that Nissen was responsible for Hallgarth’s death out of jealousy or a desire to hurt Boden for hurting her.

Davies rejected those theories as “at best speculative.” He noted that Nissen first implicated Boden in the crime six weeks after the murder. 

Ultimately, Davies was satisfied with Nissen’s testimony because elements were supported by other witnesses and evidence from the police and coroner.

“I can safely rely upon her eyewitness testimony. She saw Mr. Boden kill Ms. Hallgarth in her home on March 15, 2009, at first stomping on her neck and chest, and then strangling her with his thumbs on her throat and his fingers on the back of her neck,” Davies said.

A date will be set for sentencing Boden. A second degree murder conviction means life in prison, but parole could come in a decade.

Boden turns 35 in December. The conviction came one day shy of the third anniversary of his arrest.

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