Local News

Boychuk Pleads Guilty to Avoid Death Row

Posted October 2, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Just as the defense prepared to present its case to the jury a surprise confession stunned a Raleigh courtroom. Bill Boychuk, the Cary man accused of murdering his wife pleaded guilty after making an agreement that should keep him off death row.

It was foggy on New Year's Eve 1995 when prosecutors say Boychuk and his pregnant wife Karen were walking across the Cary Parkway bridge. Prosecutors presented evidence this week that Boychuk pushed his wife up against a guardrail which she then fell over, tumbling down a steep embankment.

At that point, nearby residents say they heard a terrifying scream. The state says Bill Boychuk then ran down the embankment and struck her in the head four times with a blunt object, probably with a rock.

Leaving the courtroom, Boychuk showed little emotion for a man who will spend the rest of his life behind bars. He stopped only to shake hands with his parents.

But there was plenty of emotion from the family of Karen Boychuk. Her father enthusiastically hugged prosecutor Tom Ford.

Several of the jurors who heard testimony for 8 days say they are also pleased with the outcome. Edwin Mayer said there was a feeling of relief among jurors.

Prosecutor Tom Ford says he believes Boychuk pleaded guilty because the state presented such a strong case against him.

Bill Boychuk maintained his innocence as he was lead away in custody Thursday, despite having just pleaded guilty. Either way, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Photographer:Robert Meikle