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'There was a shot': Victim’s wife recounts husband’s death at Panovski retrial

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Don Frigo’s wife, Eva Willer-Frigo, took the stand at Boris Panovski’s retrial Monday.

Willer-Frigo recounted the moment her and her husband were shot while on horseback at a bird dogging field trial at the Hullett Marsh near Clinton, nearly 10 years ago.

“There was a shot. Don was hit. There was another shot, and I felt the sting on my face,” recounted Willer-Frigo, while on the stand at the St.Thomas Courthouse.

Willer-Frigo recounted fleeing on her horse as the shooter ran to a nearby car parked along the side of a dirt road in the largely marshy-wooded area.

“I saw the side profile. He was running back to the car with the gun. He was in camouflage. Ball cap. Everything was matching. He had a shotgun,” said Willer-Frigo.

As she hid in the woods, fearing for her life with buckshot in her face, Willer-Frigo recounted the final moments of her husband’s life.

“Don was on the ground at the side of the road. He pulled up aside Don. Another gun came out and shot Don,” recounted Willer-Frigo.

Don Frigo was pronounced dead on scene on Sept. 13, 2014. Willer-Frigo suffered injuries to her face in the shooting.

Following a Canada wide warrant seeking his arrest, Boris Panovski was arrested at Toronto’s Pearson Airport and charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder days later.

A Goderich jury convicted Panovski of first degree murder in June 2018 for killing Frigo. A new trial was ordered in December 2021, in part due to an “unbalanced and inadequate” charge by the judge to the Goderich jury.

Panovski’s retrial began May 23 in St.Thomas.

Panovski’s defence lawyer spent the afternoon poking holes in the Crown’s case and Willer-Frigo’s police statements in the weeks following the shooting, where she was unable to identify Panosvki as her husband’s killer.

“I didn’t know if it was Boris Panovski or not. I was a basket case. I was always looking over my shoulder. My whole life had been turned upside down,” said Willer-Frigo.

The Crown believes the 79-year-old Panovski shot and killed Don Frigo due to jealousy and anger over the men’s involvement in the bird dogging field trial world, where both men enjoyed success over the years, but Panovski had been largely banished from in the years leading up to 2014.

Panovski has denied any wrongdoing and continues to maintain his innocence.

Willer-Frigo is expected to continue her testimony Tuesday.

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