An 29-year-old Innisfil man, who murdered his girlfriend then set her house on fire, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Friday, Aug. 23.

Ryan Kovacs was originally charged with murder and arson but the Crown dropped those charges and agreed to accept a guilty plea on the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

Facts in the case are brutal. The Crown told the court how the victim, Dawn Bailey, 27, who had recently broken up with Kovacs, was stabbed 8 times in the face, chest, hand, neck, back as she pleaded for her life July 31, 2011.

Kovacs went to her home in Gilford where Bailey lived with her parents, but they were away for the weekend. He crept into her house and saw her sleeping, then went upstairs to get a kitchen knife. He returned to her basement bedroom and began stabbing her and then strangling her with his hands, court heard. He then poured gasoline all over house and set it on fire.

Bailey's new boyfriend, Peter Valente of Barrie, Ont., risked his life trying to get into the house through the billowing black flames. He finally reached her and found her dead. He told the court he will never forget finding her cold body in the black smoke.

Bailey was an avid sports enthusiast and played on various women’s hockey leagues as well as coached children’s hockey with her father.

Court heard Kovacs has a history of mental health problems and once lost his job over “bizarre” behavior. A couple of nights before the murder Bailey called police and said she was worried about Kovacs because he was acting strange and sending strange texts to her and she thought he was suicidal, although she was not afraid for her safety.

Police then went to talk to Kovacs at his parents home and deemed he was not suicidal. After the murder Kovacs confessed everything to police, calling himself a “monster.”

A sentencing hearing will be held on August 30.