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Accused killer Robert Pickton facing 12 new first-degree murder charges

Macleans.ca
STEVE MERTL

May 25, 2005

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. (CP) - The man accused of being Canada's worst serial killer now faces 27 first-degree murder counts after the Crown added 12 new charges Wednesday.

Lorraine Crey, sister of Dawn Teresa Crey, last seen in November 2000, told reporters that she was disappointed that no charges have been filed against Robert Pickton in her sister's case. (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

Lead prosecutor Mike Petrie said the Crown added seven of the new charges arising from evidence at Pickton's six-month preliminary hearing in 2003, which produced the initial 15-count murder indictment. The other five charges stem from evidence developed since the hearing, Petrie said in B.C. Supreme Court.

Pickton now is charged in the disappearance of over two dozen of the more than 60 women, mainly drug-addicted sex-trade workers, from Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside over several years.

A spokesman for the B.C. Attorney General's prosecution service said the new charges were stringently vetted to ensure the best chance for a conviction.

"By confining this trial to these 27 counts it will afford certainty to the trial process and allow the trial to move forward in a fair and efficient manner," Stan Lowe said outside court.

Lowe did not respond to a question on whether their might be future charges but noted police are still continuing their massive investigation - one of the costliest and most complex in B.C. history.

The five newest charges involve the apparent deaths of Cara Ellis, Andrea Borhaven, Kerry Koski, Wendy Crawford and Debra Lynne Jones.

Seven other charges relate to the deaths of Marnie Frey, Tiffany Drew, Sarah de Vries, Cynthia Feliks, Angela Jardine, Diana Melnick and an unidentified woman.

The 15 existing charges stem from the deaths of Serena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Jacqueline McDonell, Diane Rock, Heather Bottomley, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda Ann Wolfe, Jennifer Lynn Furminger, Helen Mae Hallmark, Patricia Rose Johnson, Georgina Faith Papin, Heather Chinnock, Tanya Holyk, Sherry Irving and Inga Hall.

The first 15 murder charges faced by Pickton cover the period between 1996 and 2002, but some of the new charges date back as far as 1995.

Pickton, dressed in a green open-neck work shirt, appeared via videolink from jail and was asked by Justice Geoffrey Barrow if he could hear. He responded, "Yes, thanks."

The new counts came as Barrow was to begin presiding over an evidence-disclosure hearing based on defence applications.

A jury has not been selected yet, nor has Pickton even elected whether to be tried by a jury or by Barrow alone.

Barrow said Wednesday's proceeding effectively marks the beginning of the trial, which faces several more weeks of evidence hearings expected this fall before the case begins in earnest next year.

The disclosure hearing was delayed while defence lawyer Peter Ritchie asked Barrow for a strict publication ban on those proceedings.

Besides the normal statutory bans on reporting potentially prejudicial evidence from pre-trial motions hearings, Ritchie wants Barrow to ensure nothing said in the disclosure hearing leaves the courtroom.

He said Barrow should not only bar publication via traditional print and broadcast media and the Internet, the judge should also forbid anyone attending the court - reporters or spectators - to reveal what they heard there to anyone else.

Ritchie even suggested Barrow could hold the entire hearing "in camera," to ensure nothing finds its way onto an Internet blog.

"The law allows flexibility in the crafting of an order," Ritchie said. "The safest way to proceed to protect our client's interest, we submit, would be to close the court."

The judge in Pickton's preliminary hearing issued a detailed publication ban but balked at barring reporters or spectators even though the ban was breached a couple of times, mainly by foreign news outlets.

Ritchie cited other cases where bans were breached, including the trial of rapist-murderer Paul Bernardo and in the Gomery inquiry into the federal sponsorship scandal where material was either published or broadcast in the United States or on the Internet.

Ritchie said Canadian journalists by and large abide by reporting restrictions, although some outlets steered Canadians to foreign web sites during the preliminary hearing.

"We're concerned more about foreign media who don't give a hoot about Canadian law," he said outside court. "And we're concerned about people who have access to the Internet who think higher interests should pertain other than our client's interest to a fair trial."

Petrie largely supported the application, noting even Wednesday's revised indictment was a "sanitized" document, its details remaining under court seal.

"The expected evidence in this case could quite reasonably be described as scandalous in nature," he told Barrow.

Oral submissions at the disclosure hearing will be even more graphic, he said. They could include allegations other people were involved in the murders, which could have devastating repercussions on those named and prejudice potential jurors even if Barrow ultimately decides they're not credible.

"We're not talking about evidence at all," said Petrie. "We're talking about disclosure."

Petrie suggested Ritchie's application was tantamount to closing the court but with no guarantee the ban could be enforced, making an in camera hearing the more reasonable option.

Dan Burnett, one of a battery of media lawyers, countered that the ban covering Pickton's preliminary hearing largely worked after a couple of early "glitches," and none of the sensational evidence has surfaced in the two years since it ended.

Far from requiring greater protection, public scrutiny and accountability is even more important in such high-profile cases, he said.

"You can't see, you can't trust," said Burnett.

Pickton, 55, has been in custody since his arrest Feb. 7, 2002, when police descended on the farm and other property he and his family owned.

Dozens of investigators, aided by forensic anthropologists, took apart every building on the pig farm and sifted through hundreds of tonnes of dirt looking for evidence.

The sister of Dawn Teresa Crey, who was last seen in November 2000, said she was disappointed that no charges have been filed against Pickton in her sister's case.

"I'm shaken by it, it bothers me," Lorraine Crey told CBC Newsworld from outside the courthouse.

"Is there anybody going to answer to my sister, she's just considered missing again. There's no answers for our family. It's troubling for the whole family."

Crey said the family has been told by police that they don't have enough DNA from her sister to lay criminal charges.

Robert Pickton was charged with 12 new counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday in the disappearance of women from the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. Here is a list of women, along with the date they were last seen, where charges have been laid. One murder charged faced by Pickton involves a woman whose identity is not known:

Diana Melnick - December 1995.

Tanya Holyk -October 1996.

Cara Ellis - 1997.

Helen Hallmark - June 1997.

Marnie Frey -August 1997.

Andrea Borhaven - sometime in 1997.

Sherry Irving - April 1997.

Cindy Feliks - November 1997.

Kerry Koski - January 1998.

Inga Hall - February 1998.

Sarah deVries - April 1998.

Angela Jardine - November 1998.

Jacqueline McDonell - January 1999.

Georgina Papin - March 1999.

Brenda Wolfe - February 1999.

Wendy Crawford - November 1999.

Jennifer Furminger - December 1999.

Tiffany Louise Drew - December 1999.

Debra Jones - December 2000.

Patricia Johnson - March 2001.

Heather Bottomley - April 2001.

Heather Chinnock - April 2001.

Angela Josebury - June 2001.

Sereena Abotsway - August 2001.

Diane Rock - October 2001.

Mona Wilson - November 2001.

Here is the list of women who have disappeared from the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver since the early 1980s, along with the date they were last seen. Those women where charges have been laid against Robert Pickton for first-degree murder are identified in brackets after their names. A murder charge has also been laid against Pickton in one case involving a woman whose identity is unknown:

Lillian Jean O'Dare - September 1978.

Wendy Louise Allen - March 1979.

Rebecca Guno - June 1983

Sherry Rail - January 1984.

Yvonne Marlene Abigosis - January 1984.

Linda Louise Grant - October 1984.

Sheryl Donahue - May 1985

Leigh Miner - December 1993.

Laura Mah - August 1985.

Elaine Allenbach - March 1986.

Teressa Williams - July 1988.

Ingrid Soet - August 1989.

Nancy Clark - August 1991.

Mary Lands - 1991.

Kathleen Wattley - June 1992.

Elsie Sebastien - October 1992.

Gloria Fedyshyn - January 1993.

Sherry Baker - 1993

Teresa Louis Triff - April 1993.

Angela Arseneault - August 1994.

Catherine Gonzalez - March 1995.

Catherine Knight - April 1995.

Dorothy Spence - August 1995.

Diana Melnick - December 1995. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Tanya Holyk -October 1996. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Olivia Williams - December 1996.

Frances Young - April 1996.

Stephanie Lane - January 1997.

Sharon Ward - February 1997.

Cara Ellis - 1997. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Maria Laura Laliberte - January 1997.

"Kellie" (Richard) Little - April 1997.

Helen Hallmark - June 1997. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Janet Henry - June 1997.

Marnie Frey -August 1997. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Jacqueline Murdock - August 1997.

Cindy Beck - September 1997.

Andrea Borhaven - sometime in 1997. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Sherry Irving - April 1997. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Cindy Feliks - November 1997. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Kerry Koski - January 1998. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Inga Hall - February 1998. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Sarah deVries - April 1998. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Elaine Dumba - Apri 1998.

Sheila Egan - July 1998.

Julie Young - October 1998.

Angela Jardine - November 1998. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Marcella Creison - December 1998.

Michelle Gurney - December 1998.

Ruby Anne Hardy - 1998.

Tania Petersen - 1998.

Tammy Fairbairn - 1998.

Jacqueline McDonell - January 1999. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Georgina Papin - March 1999. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Brenda Wolfe - February 1999. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Wendy Crawford - November 1999. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Jennifer Furminger - December 1999. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Tiffany Louise Drew - December 1999. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Dawn Crey - November 2000.

Debra Jones - December 2000. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Sharon Abraham - 2000.

Patricia Johnson - March 2001. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Yvonne Marie Boen - March 2001.

Heather Bottomley - April 2001. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Heather Chinnock - April 2001. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Angela Josebury - June 2001. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Sereena Abotsway - August 2001. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Diane Rock - October 2001. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Mona Wilson - November 2001. (Robert Pickton charged with first-degree murder)

Copyright by Rogers Media Inc.
May not be reprinted or republished without permission

MACLEANS.CA

 

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Updated: August 21, 2016