Local convicted of first-degree murder in 1992 killing
A 72-year-old Richmond woman who was described by her neighbours as an affable, animal-loving friend, will be spending at least the next 25 years in prison after being found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her husband's mistress.
A B.C. Supreme Court jury rendered the verdict around 11:30 a.m. Friday, less than a day after jurors began their deliberations in the murder case against Jean Ann James.
Aside from the mandatory life sentence, James has been ordered to provide a DNA sample and is prohibited for life from possessing a firearm.
James was arrested by Mounties in December of 2008 for the 1992 death of Gladys Wakabayashi, the 41-year-old daughter of a Taiwanese billionaire.
James was finally arrested after a years-long RCMP investigation that reportedly involved the Mr. Big scenario in which James confessed her involvement in the murder to a man she believed to be a crime boss but was actually an undercover police officer.
RCMP Cpl. Annie Linteau said in 2008 that James was a suspect early on in the investigation.
Police learned following Wakabayashi's death that she was having an affair with a married man and that the man's wife learned of the affair a short time before the murder.
James was a long-time employee of Canadian Pacific Airlines, and her husband was an air traffic controller.
They lived an unassuming life in a two-storey, cedar-roofed house on a half-acre property near Garden City and Blundell.
James' arrest came as a shock to neighbours.
"That's absolutely absurd," said one neighbour, "I'm stunned" said another.
"This is the biggest shock that I ever had," said a third.