Trial starts for Port Alberni mother accused of murdering adult son

Trial starts for Port Alberni mother accused of murdering adult son

The trial is underway for a Port Alberni mother accused of the second-degree murder of her adult son.

New details are emerging about what transpired about two years ago in the home they were living in together.

In its opening remarks, the crown says that on Aug. 29, 2021, 37-year-old Jesse McPhee was shot point blank in the chest with a hunting rifle.

His biological mother, then 61-year-old Samantha Dittmer, owned the house and lived on the top floor. The crown says she was under doctors’ care for anxiety and panic attacks.

McPhee’s girlfriend and mother went out together to Great Central Lake in the morning, and when they returned to their 18th Avenue home, neighbours heard a loud argument.

Dittmer left the home in her vehicle and got a text from her son saying, “You are mentally ill and I love you. I think you should seek help.”

Video surveillance shows Dittmer’s vehicle returning home.

McPhee and his girlfriend were preparing dinner and getting ready to watch a show on Netflix, and there was one more 19-second call between the mother and son.

His girlfriend then went outside when she heard a gunshot. She ran inside and saw Dittmer holding a long gun, standing about five feet from where her boyfriend was on the ground.

Dittmer told the girlfriend to call 911 and walked away.

Police arrived at the home and soon after performed CPR on McPhee and arrested Dittmer.

The crown says police officers are expected to testify they found the rifle under Dittmer’s bed, and that it’s uncontested that the rifle fired the fatal shot.

A pathologist is expected to testify McPhee would’ve died instantaneously.

A nurse in mental health is also expected to testify that Dittmer told her, two weeks after the shooting, that she was passing the gun to her son when it went off.

The crown said a firearms expert is expected to testify that the gun wouldn’t have fired unless someone pressed the trigger.

The trial should take five weeks and hear from eight expert witnesses along with other witnesses, including neighbours, police officers and paramedics.

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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