Trial to begin for Brandon man accused of killing wife before 2019 home explosion

Jury selection begins Monday morning in a trial for a man accused of killing his wife before the couple’s Brandon, Man., home exploded two years ago.

Following the Oct. 2019 explosion in Brandon’s east end, Robert Hughes faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of his wife, Betty Hughes.

Emergency crews were called to the home on the evening of Oct. 22, 2019. When they arrived, they found the front of the home in ruins, with household items strewn across the front yard. 

The force of the blast also caused the two side walls of the home to buckle outward. 

At the time, police noted a strong smell of natural gas in the air when officers arrived at the scene.

63-year-old Betty Hughes was later found dead in the home. Her husband Robert, who was also 63 at the time, was pulled from the rubble and taken to hospital.

Robert and Betty Hughes had purchased the home in July 2019, according to Land Titles documents obtained by CBC News. (Betty Hughes/Facebook )

Days later, police announced he had been arrested and charged in his wife’s death.

Land title documents obtained by CBC News showed the home had recently been sold and was registered to the Hughes in July of 2019.

Several witnesses and experts are expected to be called over the course of the trial, which is scheduled for three weeks in Brandon’s Court of Queen’s Bench. 

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