Local News

Ian Campbell Acknowledges Responsibility For Fiancee's Death

Posted May 19, 2003 3:59 a.m. EDT

— Ian Campbell's murder trial started with a surprise Monday morning. The defendant admitted to assaulting his fiancee the morning she died, but he claims he is not guilty of first-degree murder.

Campbell, 30, told a judge his actions did result in Heather Domenie's death, but he is not guilty of first-degree murder. Campbell is accused of strangling his fiance, Dominie, 33, a Raleigh elementary school teacher.

Domenie died July 25 in the Cary home she shared with Campbell.

Campbell told police he came home from the store and found her dead. In a call to 911, Campbell implied Domenie strangled herself with a towel.

Prosecutors said Campbell's admission does nothing to change the state's case for seeking the death penalty. They said evidence shows the crime was heinous and Campbell stood to gain financially. They said Campbell had checked the status of Domenie's $750,000 insurance policy before and after her death.

Prosecutors and police also said Campbell was involved with another woman.

Campbell pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges in April.

How Domenie died could be a contentious issue for prosecutors and the defense team.

Dr. Deborah L. Radisch, a state pathologist, found bruises and puncture wounds on Domenie's neck and ruled the cause of death suffocation by strangulation.

Defense lawyer Thomas C. Manning has said an independent forensic expert will be called as a witness to challenge the medical examiner's conclusion that Domenie died by strangulation.

The defense also said since police did not tell Campbell about his rights as a Canadian citizen at the time of his arrest, they said the death penalty should not be allowed. Canada does not use or support the death penalty.

Domenie, a first-grade teacher in Raleigh, had moved here from Halifax, Nova Scotia, with Campbell two years ago. The couple had planned to get married in Sept. 2002 but had delayed the wedding several times, accordin to prosecutors.

Monday was also the start of jury selection. Jury selection in the case could take up to two weeks due to pre-trial publicity. A questionnaire will be used to see if prospective jurors have already made a conclusion about the case.