Mistrial declared in sensational conspiracy case

Mistrial declared in sensational conspiracy case

A wealthy Toronto businessman and his former mistress -- both charged six years ago with conspiracy to kill his wife -- had their day in court postponed when a judge declared a mistrial Friday.

The sudden and unexpected death of a witness last week forced the judge to declare a mistrial in the case of Alex Petraitis, 67, and Sandra Lynn Rinella, 47.

"I've waited six years for my day in court and I still didn't get it," Rinella told reporters as she left the University Avenue courthouse.

Both were charged in 2004 with conspiracy to commit murder.

Speaking with reporters outside the courtroom, Petraitis's lawyer Edward Greenspan called the development "a rather bizarre turn of events ... I can never recall being involved in a case where a subpoena was served on a witness and they were possibly murdered."

Joseph Neuberger, Rinella's lawyer, was similarly baffled.

"It's a suspicious circumstance because when a car has been on fire to the extent that it was, and the body is completely charred, one has to be a bit concerned about the circumstances and how this individual met his death."

The man's body was found in Eganville, Ont., which is about 30 kilometres south of Pembroke.

Police initially found there was no foul play, but they continue to investigate the matter, CTV Toronto's Chris Eby reported.

A new jury for the trial will be selected in September.

Petraitis is a former Toronto magazine distributor. Rinella is his former mistress who is reputedly a dominatrix.

According to court documents, they are alleged to have agreed to hire and paid Kerry Anderson, a former partner of Rinella's, to kill Kristen Petraitis. She is Petraitis's wife of 40 years.