October 02, 2015
After deliberating for nearly four hours yesterday, a Supreme Court jury unanimously convicted Donna Vasyli of the murder of her husband, renowned Australian podiatrist Phillip Vasyli.
The couple’s gardener found Vasyli, 59, facedown in a pool of blood inside the guest house of their home in the exclusive gated community of Old Fort Bay on March 24, 2015. He used his emergency key to gain access to the home after seeing blood on the deck and a bloodstained knife on the ground.
The jury’s announcement unleased a tide of grief from the convict and her family, who wept and screamed out in disbelief.
Mrs. Vasyli’s son, Aron Vasyli, consoled his mother and pregnant sister, Lauren de Graaf, who shouted, “She’s innocent.”
De Graaf held her stomach as she left the courtroom with her husband, Quentin.
Vasyli, 55, whose $200,000 bail was revoked when the six-woman six-man jury retired to deliberate, fell to the ground in the prisoner’s dock and cried out, “I love my husband so much.”
Vasyli appeared too weak to stand as she was led to a holding cell to await transport to prison. She could face a sentence of 30 to 60 years when she returns to court for the penalty phase of the trial on November 10.
The prosecution team of Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Garvin Gaskin and Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Neil Brathwaite successfully made out a circumstantial case against Vasyli, who was the last person seen alive with the deceased.
Dr. Vasyli, a world renowned podiatrist, died from a single stab wound to the neck.
The wound, which was 5 3/4 inches deep, was inflicted by a Wusthof knife taken from inside the home, according to the evidence.
There was also no evidence of an intruder, as the locks and windows were not tampered with and nothing was taken from the home.
Dr. Vasyli’s blood was found on two dresses that belonged to the convict — one that was taken from her when she was arrested on March 24; the other that was seized from her daughter’s home on March 27.
The defense team of Elliot Lockhart, QC, and Murrio Ducille, presented a multifaceted defense, suggesting that Dr. Vasyli committed suicide or that an assailant entered the home from the beach without detection by the round-the-clock security provided at the gated community.
Vasyli exercised her constitutional right to remain silent, relying on her denials made during a videotaped interview with police.
During the interview, Vasyli said that she went to her daughter’s home shortly after three guests had left the Vasylis’ home. She also denied telling a police officer that she had fought with her husband on March 23.
The pathologist Dr. Caryn Sands said that while it was possible that the fatal wound was self-inflicted it was unlikely.
Sands said she did not observe hesitation injuries that would be expected in a suicide
Senior Justice Stephen Isaacs thanked the jurors for their verdict, saying the case “was not the easiest to deliberate on”.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian