Former CFL player Josh Boden accused of murder

Former CFL wide receiver Josh Boden, right, goes through security screening at the British Columbia Provincial Court in 2012 for sentencing on two sexual assault convictions. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

VANCOUVER — A former wide receiver with the Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions has made his first court appearance following a charge of second-degree murder more than nine years after a woman’s death.

Joshua Boden’s lawyer said outside provincial court Monday his client intends to plead not guilty in connection with the death of 33-year-old Kimberly Hallgarth, whose body was found in a Burnaby home in March 2009.

Police called her injuries suspicious.

Lawyer Kevin Westell would not comment on his client’s reaction to the charge coming so long after Hallgarth was discovered dead.

"All I’m prepared to say is that these allegations have been out in the media the entirety of that time," Westell said. "Mr. Boden has been unwavering in his denial of his guilt in this matter and he maintains that opposition today."

Westell said he and his co-counsel have not yet received disclosure from the Crown and will review the material before Boden is expected back in court on Dec. 10.

Boden was arrested on Friday and will remain in custody.

Westell would not say if he will apply for bail.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team announced the charge against Boden a few hours before he appeared in court on Monday.

Insp. Dave Chauhan, the acting officer in charge of the homicide team, said "excellent foundational work" was done by the original investigators and a review by a cold-case team led to the approval of charges by B.C.’s prosecution service.

"I realize that the past nine years have been very difficult on Kim’s family and my deepest condolences go out to them," Chauhan said, adding he thanks the woman’s relatives for their patience.

"For us to arrive at today’s outcome, it took a great deal of tenacity for all investigators involved, both past and present," he said.

Chauhan said the cold-case team continually reviews and prioritizes IHIT’s unsolved cases for a number of key factors, including physical evidence obtained and new leads or information received.

"The homicide investigation of Kim Hallgarth met many of these factors and the cold-case team has successfully met the high threshold to bring this file to a successful conclusion, resulting in charges being laid against Mr. Boden."

A statement from Hallgarth’s family said their grief has been unimaginable and the death of the woman "with a heart of gold" has taken a toll on all of them.

"Kim was a bubbly and caring person who deeply loved being the mother to Hailey, and the void that her murder has left in our hearts can never be filled. She loved life and was always able to make everyone around her laugh."

Boden played for the Lions in 2007 before briefly joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2008.

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