B.C. farmer convicted on six counts of 2nd-degree murder
Rafe Arnott/For Metro Toronto
Port Coquitlam, B.C., pig farmer Robert Pickton, 58, showed no emotion as he was convicted yesterday of second-degree murder in the deaths of six women who disappeared from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
"He didn’t change his facial expression," said Marilyn Kraft, mother of Cindy Feliks, who is among 20 women Pickton is also charged with killing. "He just sat there with his leg over his knee. He just sat there."
Family and friends of the murdered women initially reacted with shock and dismay when the jury returned — after 10 days of deliberations — with a verdict of not guilty for six counts of first-degree murder.
The disappointment, however, faded quickly as the jury found Pickton guilty of six counts of the lesser second-degree charge for the deaths of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda Wolfe, Marnie Frey and Georgina Papin.
"There was a lot of relief there because it doesn’t matter," Kraft said. "Life is life."
The conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no eligibility of parole for 10 to 25 years. His sentencing hearing begins tomorrow.
Defence lawyer Peter Ritchie said his client was "having the normal reaction of someone who has been convicted of six counts of murder."
Light snow fell outside the New Westminster, B.C., courthouse as family members of the slain women, crying and shaking, lit candles representing the six women Pickton killed and 20 others he is accused of killing.