Pickton faces seven new charges
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
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
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
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.
50% off home delivery of the Toronto Star.