Accused killer draws the line at fictional villain

Thomas Svekla once compared his notoriety to that of one of Canada’s worst serial killers, but he drew the line at fictional Hannibal Lecter when a criminal profiler tried to see inside his mind.



In a wiretapped conversation on Sept. 20, 2006, played to court yesterday, Svekla told his sister that a profiler from Ottawa had visited him to discuss accusations that he killed two Edmonton prostitutes.


He showed no interest in speaking to him, he told her, and mocked any attempts the investigator made to understand his childhood background, alluding to the movie the Silence Of The Lambs.

"This isn’t a movie and I’m not Hannibal Lecter," he said, before his voice ballooned into a long stream of sharp, steady laughter. "I’m not Hannibal Lecter."

Previous wiretap conversations played to court revealed that Svekla said his notoriety made him, "like the Pickton of Alberta," referring to serial killer Robert Pickton, convicted of killing six prostitutes in B.C. last year and suspected in the deaths of many more. Svekla, a 39-year-old mechanic, is on trial for second-degree murder in the deaths of Rachel Quinney, 19, and Theresa Innes, 36. He’s pleaded not guilty to all charges.

When Svekla was arrested and placed in the Edmonton Remand Centre, one of his sisters grew uneasy and thought he was guilty of murder, court heard Svekla tell his mother in another wiretap.

The sister had told police about a conversation where he said he had done a "bad thing" back in 2004. He retaliated against her for that comment, calling police and telling them about an alleged sexual assault she fought off over a decade ago.

"I told the cops and the cops are all over her now," he said in the wiretap, played to court. "…That was just my way of getting back at her."

Svekla also warned the rest of his family to stop talking to the police, especially if they fed them any information on his past crack cocaine addiction.