Man accused of killing Renee Sweeney changes lawyers, trial delayed

There has been another delay in the Renee Sweeney murder court case as the man accused in her murder has changed lawyers two weeks before his trial was set to begin.

Robert Steven Wright was charged in December 2018 with murdering Sweeney in 1998. He has been in jail since his arrest.

The trial was supposed to begin in May, but because of concern that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could force a postponement, Justice Gregory Ellies rescheduled it to Oct. 25.

In a court hearing Tuesday morning, Wright's lead council, defence lawyer Berk Keaney, declared a conflict. Keaney told CTV News all parties agreed that it would be proper for him to step aside as lead council. Michael Lacy will take his place.

Lacy is known for having child pornography charges against a Sudbury doctor withdrawn.

Michael Venturi is another lawyer on the defence team. When asked if he will remain on the case, he told CTV News "that is to be determined."

"This matter returns to criminal assignment court on Nov. 2 to set new dates for the pre-trial motions and trial," a court clerk told CTV News in an email.

Wright was an 18-year-old high school senior when Sweeney, 23, was brutally stabbed to death at Adults Only Video on Paris Street, where she worked as a clerk.

The investigation into her killing produced few leads until late 2018 when Greater Sudbury Police arrested Wright while he was at work in North Bay.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

With files from Darren MacDonald, a digital content producer for CTV News Sudbury