A man who spent much of the past two decades living and doing business on Vancouver Island has been found guilty of killing a woman nearly 30 years ago in Palm Springs.
Anthony Michael Kubica was convicted Nov. 19 of first-degree murder in the death of Marie Darling, 78, 29 years ago after just a single day of deliberations in Banning, California.
The jury found the 63-year-old, most recently from Shawnigan Lake, guilty of kidnapping and murdering the wealthy Palm Springs resident who disappeared from her home in 1990.
Her body was found wrapped in a sleeping bag by hikers alongside a highway, with her feet bound in duct tape. An autopsy performed on the body at the time found the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.
Kubica’s sentencing is set for Jan. 10. His lawyers have already filed a motion to dismiss the verdict.
John Hall, a public information officer with Riverside County’s district attorney’s office, in whose jurisdiction the trial was held, said the prosecution was confident in the evidence in the case.
“We do not file charges in any case unless we believe we can prove to a jury that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. “That is the standard we must abide by in any case.”
It was discovered after Darling’s body was found that more than $184,000 had been transferred out of her Swiss bank account to an account in Anguilla that Kubica, who lived and operated a company in Palm Springs at the time, had allegedly opened around the same time the body was found.
Kubica and his wife, CJ, were suspects early in the investigation but the trail went cold. A cold-case investigator later discovered that Kubica’s wife was Darling’s financial advisor, even though she’d denied knowing Darling during the original investigation. Kubica’s wife has since died.
Kubica was living in the Cowichan Valley in 2017 when California issued a request for him to extradited to the U.S. to stand trial.
The B.C. Supreme Court ruled there was enough evidence for him to be extradited to face charges of murder and kidnapping last year.
After the Supreme Court’s ruling, the case went to former Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould whose approval was required for an extradition to take place after a judicial process determines there is enough evidence for a suspect to face charges in another country.
It took almost eight months for the minister’s approval for Kubica’s extradition, which finally took place late last year.