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Ex-Ontario firefighter pleads guilty to wife’s murder after body found in flaming car

A Collingwood man has pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife after her body was found inside a burning SUV more than a year ago.

In a Barrie court room Thursday afternoon, James Schwalm plead guilty to second-degree murder in the death 40-year-old Ashley Schwalm.

On Jan. 26, 2023, Ontario Provincial Police found a wrecked SUV on Arrowhead Road in Collingwood, which was on fire. Police found Ashley’s body inside the vehicle, and later alleged Schwalm – a former Brampton fire captain – murdered her and staged her death.

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On Feb. 3 police charged him with second-degree murder and indignity to a dead body. On Feb. 17. the charges were upgraded to first-degree murder.

In court Thursday, he pled guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

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James Schwalm was charged with first degree murder in February 2023 death of his wife Ashley Schwalm. Courtesy of Brampton Fire Department X

When the murder charges were announced last year, they rocked Collingwood – a tight-knit community where the family called home.

Global News learned in February 2023 Schwalm and his wife were both avid winter sport enthusiasts and enjoyed hitting the slopes.

More to come.

— With files from Global News’ Catherine McDonald and Shallima Maharaj

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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