First-degree murder charge in 1998 stabbing death of 23-year-old woman
Two decades after a 23-year-old Sudbury woman was stabbed to death in broad daylight, police have arrested and charged a 39-year-old man in connection with her murder.
Renee Sweeney was brutally attacked in the video store in Greater Sudbury where she worked on Jan. 27, 1998. The young Laurentian University student sustained multiple stab wounds and died of her injuries at the scene.
Since then, the Greater Sudbury Police said they have made numerous public appeals, released evidentiary photos, and employed “innovative investigative techniques” in an effort to solve the two-decades-old case that continues to haunt the Sudbury community to this day.
Police also said they have received more than 2,000 tips and eliminated 1,500 suspects during the course of their investigation.
“This has never been a cold case. This organization has always been determined to solve this murder,” Chief Paul Pederson of the Greater Sudbury Police told a press conference on Tuesday.
In early November, investigators caught a break in the case.
Det. Sgt. Sandra Dicaire said police received information about a person of interest and gathered forensic evidence.
On Tuesday morning, police executed an arrest warrant for Robert Steven Wright – who is also known as Steve or Stevie – in North Bay, Ont. He was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the murder of Renee Sweeney.
Police said Wright was an 18-year-old Sudbury resident who attended Lockerby Composite School at the time of Sweeney’s death. He has no prior criminal record, according to investigators.
Wright is married now and was living in North Bay at the time of his arrest. An acquaintance described Wright as a “gentle giant” during an interview with CTV Northern Ontario.
Pederson said that although the police force is experiencing a “sense of satisfaction,” he said the investigation is ongoing and they still have a lot of work to do. He also asked that anyone with information related to the case come forward.
Wright is expected to appear in bail court in Sudbury on Wednesday.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.