Walking in the woods in northern Alberta, Teri Koch once suggested in a morbid joke to her friend Thomas Svekla that he could be the man behind all the dead prostitutes found discarded near Edmonton, court heard yesterday.
The 39-year-old mechanic responded with a simple reply: “Well, what would you do if I was?”
He told her that he found the body of Rachel Quinney, but their conversation was just the two of them “kidding around,” Koch testified at Svekla’s double-murder trial yesterday.
Svekla is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Quinney, 19, and Theresa Innes, 36, two Edmonton-area prostitutes.
Koch arrived in court wearing a bright red wig and a leopard-print shirt and began crying when she spotted Svekla sitting in the prisoner’s box.
The pair looked at each other briefly before Koch broke down in tears, while Svekla smiled and then buried his head in his hands.
Innes was found stuffed inside a black hockey bag in the back of Svekla’s truck in May of 2006 and Koch testified yesterday that she once gave Svekla a similar bag.
And days before he was charged with her murder, Koch testified that he made another one of the “stupid” comments they regularly said to each other.
“If I told you that I killed my girlfriend, would you tell the cops?” he asked her.
Koch said she told Svekla she wouldn’t tell police because she didn’t want to get involved in his “bulls–t,” court heard.
A man who used to live with Svekla also testified yesterday that he talked to Rachel Quinney in their kitchen one night — testimony that directly links Svekla to Quinney for the first time.
Randy Munian told court that he met the 19-year-old when she asked to borrow his CD Get Rich or Die Tryin’ by 50 Cent, whom she said is her favourite artist.
But under cross-examination, he admitted that he only met a girl identified as Rachel Quin and he couldn’t identify the woman in a photo lineup.
The trial continues today.