Guilty Plea In A 2006 Windsor Murder

A Windsor man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a murder which took place 12 years ago.

Richard Zoldi, 40, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Troy Hutchinson.

He had originally been found guilty of second-degree murder but his ruling was overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Wednesday morning, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and the judge accepted a joint submission, so he will remain in custody for an additional nine months.

In August 2006, Hutchinson was shot in the stomach at close range in the Ford City area at Ford Blvd and Reginald St. during a supposed drug deal which in reality was a ruse stemming from a previous stabbing.

No one saw who shot Hutchinson who called out "murder" as he fell to the ground.

A gun, glove, t-shirt were found to the scene and the t-shirt contained Zoldi's DNA.

Assistant Crown George Spartinos says the matter could have gone to trial.

"We decided to resolve the case for the manslaughter plea today in light of the fact he's been in jail for 12-years," says Spartinos.  "His original sentence was life however he could have applied for parole after 13-years so really even if it wasn't overturned he could apply for parole very soon."      

Spartinos says Zoldi was given credit for having spent 14.5 years in custody and will remain another nine-months behind bars.

Zoldi was charged with first degree murder but was found guilty of second degree murder following the trial in May 2011.

He appealed the conviction based on what he claimed were four errors in the judge's instruction to the jury before deliberations.

The court heard Wednesday, Zoldi has a lengthy criminal record but while in custody has shown and made progress.

He is drug free and received his high school diploma.

Zoldi has been in custody since August 38, 2006.

He was also sentenced to three years probation plus a list of conditions up on his release.

Zoldi has five children and plans on opening a tattoo parlour.

A co-accused in the case, Shane Huard, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the case.  He appealed the conviction, but the appeal was dismissed. 

A first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.