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Court dismisses appeal of former B.C. Lions player convicted of ex-girlfriend's murder

Former Canadian Football League wide receiver Josh Boden, right, goes through security screening as he arrives at British Columbia Provincial Court in Vancouver on Thursday July 26, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Former Canadian Football League wide receiver Josh Boden, right, goes through security screening as he arrives at British Columbia Provincial Court in Vancouver on Thursday July 26, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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British Columbia's highest court has dismissed an appeal from a former B.C. Lions wide receiver who sought to overturn his conviction in the second-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend.

In June 2022, Josh Boden was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years for the 2009 killing of 33-year-old Kimberly Hallgarth in Burnaby, B.C.

At sentencing, the B.C. Supreme Court heard that Boden viciously beat and choked Hallgarth in the home she shared with her three-year-old daughter, and then staged the scene in an attempt to make her death look like an accident.

Boden's conviction depended on the testimony of witness Heidi Nissen, who was present during the murder and identified the former footballer as the killer.

Nissen was also involved in an intimate relationship with Boden at the time, and like the victim, also worked for him in the sex trade, according to the B.C. Court of Appeal decision Thursday.

In his appeal, Boden did not dispute that he was in Hallgarth's home when she was killed. However, he argued that evidence heard at trial about the way he treated Nissen was prejudicial and should not have been admitted by the judge.

Boden argued the error rendered his trial unfair and necessitated a new hearing on the murder charge.

Kimberly Hallgarth is shown in a photo provided by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. (IHIT)

In a 3-0 decision, B.C.'s appeal court upheld the lower-court ruling and found the judge was not only right to admit the evidence, but Boden's own defence counsel provided "unequivocal and informed" consent to its admission at trial.

"Defence counsel cross-examined extensively on the evidence, eliciting details beyond what was led by the Crown," Justice Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten said. "From his written closing submissions, it is readily apparent defence counsel sought to use the cross-examination not only to challenge (Nissen's) credibility and reliability, but also to lay a foundation for her as the perpetrator of the murder."

Boden, 37, played for the B.C. Lions in 2007 before being released from the team in 2008 and signing with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, although he never played a regular-season game with that team before he was cut.

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