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Dec. 15, 2003. 03:04 PM
 
Flash: The missing women  
Lawyer wants reporters banned (Jan. 15)  
Mystery to lift (Jan. 13)  
Shedding some light on 'Willy' (Jan. 10)  
Pickton faces four more charges (Oct. 2)  
Another missing woman's DNA found (Sept. 17)  
List of missing women grows (Mar. 29)  
Investigation could last year: police (Mar. 21)  
B.C. watchdog won't probe case (Mar. 19)  
Missingpeople.net  

Pickton faces seven new charges

CANADIAN PRESS

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. - Accused serial killer Robert Pickton will face seven new first-degree murder charges, bringing the total number of women he's charged with killing to 22, the Crown told court today.

Crown prosecutor Mike Petrie told B.C. Supreme Court the formal indictment for the new charges has not yet been filed.

The new charges are those which came up during a preliminary hearing earlier this year.

Judge David Stone said at the time that if the hearing had started a month after it did, he could have ruled Pickton should stand trial on the 22 counts.

Today's appearance was to set a date for the trial, but both sides indicated they weren't yet ready for a date.

Pickton's next court appearance in June 28.

If convicted, Pickton would be the worst serial killer in Canadian history. The investigation has also been one of the most expensive.

Investigators finished combing through every inch of Pickton's pig farm last month, but Petrie said there are "thousands of exhibits in the cue at the lab" and analysis will take many more months to complete.

Petrie said the labs have obtained some new robotics equipment to make DNA extraction quicker, but that work will still take at least until June.

Peter Ritchie, Pickton's lawyer, said he understands that all the exhibits have not yet been analyzed.

But he added: "My client is anxious to have his trial."

Ritchie said the defence may have a better idea in June about when it might be ready for a trial.

The defence lawyer also indicated Pickton will be tried by a judge and jury.

Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm said the trial will be held in New Westminster likely in the courthouse where Pickton appeared today.

The courtroom has recently been outfitted with a thick plate-glass barrier separating the public gallery from the courtroom

Dohm told the lawyers the court would be ready whenever they are. But he said once the trial is started, he wants it to continue uninterrupted.

The official list of women missing from the downtown eastside over the last two decades stands at at least 61.

Last month, police issued a public appeal for information on four other women who fit the profile of the others on the missing list. Police have since learned that one of the four died of natural causes two years ago in Edmonton.

Most of the women on the missing list were drug-addicted prostitutes, prompting critics to charge that police ignored the crimes because the victims weren't regarded as important.

The massive police investigation was sparked by a raid on the Pickton family's sprawling suburban property Feb. 6, 2002.

A huge team of police forensic investigators, augmented by civilian experts, painstakingly searched Pickton properties for 21 months.

When investigators pulled out of the main site, a 45-minute drive east of Vancouver, they had sifted through 338,000 cubic metres of soil and dismantled buildings in a search for evidence.

The property will revert to the owners, the Pickton family.

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Updated: August 21, 2016