RCMP seeks to dispose of Pickton evidence

Victim’s sister wants prayer card found in slaughterhouse

After DNA evidence linked serial killer Robert Pickton to the disappearance of her sister Cara Ellis, Lori Ellis asked police for a prayer card belonging to her sister.

“It was the serenity prayer,” Lori said. “It was found on a shelf in the slaughterhouse.”

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The card is part of evidence the RCMP has applied to BC Supreme Court to dispose of the evidence in the case, news victims’ families say is traumatizing.

The Port Coquitlam pig farmer was convicted by a jury in 2007 of six counts of second-degree murder involving women who went missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Those counts related to the women whose body parts were found on the now-vacant suburban Vancouver property.

Twenty further counts with less concrete evidence were stayed.

Evidence in Canada’s largest serial killer investigation ran from inhalers, to clothes, DNA, body parts, blood-soaked items, vehicles and clothing. A warehouse was used to house evidence.

“We can confirm that it is an application to the court to deal with the disposal of exhibits associated to the investigation,” RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said. “We understand that the application is not sealed and the hearing is open.  We are seeking a judicial decision around the disposal given the volume of materials.”

Documents filed in court in New Westminster note evidence such as crime-scene tapes, shoes, hypodermic needles, sex toys, rosary beads, knives, a gun, pieces of ammunition and licence plates, among other things.

Crime scene videotapes are being kept by police.

The documents list most of the items as having no value with ownership or lawful entitlement unknown.

Two items belonging to people who were found have been returned to them. Licence plates found have been returned to ICBC.

The application was filed by lawyer John Ahern, a prosecutor in the case.

“I do not anticipate that any further criminal proceedings will be initiated with respect to the murders Robert William P{ickton has committed or is suspected of having committed,” said an affidavit from RCMP officer Shane Jeffrey Parsons as part of the application. “Nor do I believe that the [exhibits] will be required as evidence in criminal proceedings against any other person.”

Pickton was convicted of killing Rick Frey’s daughter, Marnie Frey. He said news of the bid to destroy the evidence just traumatizes everyone again.

He said Marnie’s daughter is afraid Pickton will be released and come after her, that she’s going to need some professional help.

Cara Ellis’s DNA was found on Pickton’s jacket from when he was arrested for the attempted murder of another woman in 1997. Those charges were stayed.

The DNA was later found on the jacket.

“I think it’s absolutely appalling they have done this without notifying the families,” Lori Ellis said of the disposal application. “We were told it would be in storage forever.”

Pickton remains in a Quebec prison, ineligible for parole until 2032.

What scant human remains investigators found on the property Pickton co-owned with his brother and sister were returned to the families a decade ago. When some relatives questioned how those remains had been handled, they were told that the remains were not suitable for cremation.

Investigative consultant Bruce Pitt-Payne, a retired RCMP sergeant, said evidence disposal is normal in criminal cases.

“The RCMP has very strict polices on when evidence from major crimes such as murder or sex offences may be destroyed,” Pitt-Payne said. “It is in the area of 80 years or more.”

However, once investigators tender evidence to courts, it becomes the decision of the courts on what should be done with it.




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