Trial hears of weird conversation with accused killer

Talk of crows dining on the ribs of road kill prompted Thomas Svekla to mention how he had found the mutilated body of Rachel Quinney, court heard yesterday.



He made the comment when Les Nalesnik and his wife agreed to drive the accused double-killer from High Level to the Edmonton area in May 2006, the two residents testified.



Unbeknownst to the elderly couple, the body of another prostitute, Theresa Innes, was stuffed inside a hockey bag in the back of their truck before they continued on their journey home.

When Nalesnik’s wife, Alice, pointed out the large amount of roadkill along the highway and how the crows would be eating "steak in the morning and ribs at night," Svekla recalled a grisly discovery.

"Boy, speaking of ribs, have I got a story for you," he told them, she testified. "Do you know Rachel Quinney? Well, I found her body."

They had just stopped for lunch at Kentucky Fried Chicken during their day-long road trip, she testified. He had told them how he stumbled across some old bones in a couch that was discarded in the woods.

When he kept walking, he discovered Quinney’s body, recently washed and cleaned with exposed, blue ribs. The body must have been placed by two men, he told them, because none of the trees were broken, twisted, or bent, she said.

Svekla is now on trial in connection with the deaths of Quinney, 19, and Innes, 36. He’s pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He had put the bag containing Innes in their truck when they picked him up in High Level, Les Nalesnik told court. The 39-year-old mechanic had a "very sweet smell" like mouthwash when they met him and he asked to be taken to his former workplace to pick up his things from his parked pickup truck.

He pulled the hockey bag out of the back, Nalesnik said, dropped it to the ground and dragged it over to the other vehicle. It appeared quite heavy, he said. But when Nalesnik’s wife asked him what was in it, Svekla said the bag was filled with $800 worth of compost worms. They had no idea it contained the body of a missing woman. The trial continues today.