Crown argued he’s smarter than he lets on

There are few clues to the character of the man who was convicted yesterday on six counts of second-degree murder. Even when he spoke about himself, it was in anecdotes.



Throughout the 10-month trial, Robert Pickton was rarely seen talking to his lawyers. They painted him as a parroting dolt who failed Grade 2 and worried his mother so much her will stated he wouldn’t get his portion of her estate until age 40.


He was held back early, in different ways by different strings. As a child, his younger brother Dave told him when to go to sleep; as an adult friends reminded him to bathe. His family held back joke punchlines because he never seemed to get them.

The Crown argued he’s more intelligent than he lets on, a calculating killer who was able to cover his tracks in gruesome ways.

Pickton once spoke about going to Europe but, whatever his IQ, his world was pretty small even before he was arrested in 2002 and, afterwards, it shrank to the size of a cell, a narrow corridor and the courtroom.

To police interrogators, he often called himself a simple pig farmer; but at one point he claimed to be an even bigger villain than alleged. He was sloppy, he said, and a failure who didn’t meet his target of "the big five-oh" — 50 dead women, in the Crown’s interpretation.

To so many people, however, Robert Pickton remains a shadowy figure, hard to pick out in a crowd.

appeal may be launched

  • This saga is likely to continue through appeals. Justice James Williams made about 100 rulings during the 22-month trial. If defence lawyers think he was mistaken or unclear in any ruling, an appeal might be launched.