During his trial, a prosecution witness Andrew Bellwood said Pickton told him how he strangled his alleged victims and fed their remains to his pigs. Health officials once issued a tainted meat advisory to neighbors who might have bought pork from Pickton’s farm, concerned the meat might have contained human remains.
During the trial, [victim] Papin’s three sisters cried and clutched each other’s hands in court while the judge reviewed the testimony of witness Lynn Ellingson. In her testimony, Ellingson said she walked in on a blood-covered Pickton as Papin’s body dangled from a chain in the farm’s slaughterhouse.
Before the jury started their deliberations on Nov. 30, Judge James Williams reviewed the transcript of a videotape with them in which Pickton is heard telling an undercover police officer that he had planned to kill 50 women, take a break, then kill 25 more.
So let me reiterate: the jury concluded on the evidence before it that Pickton did indeed savagely kill all six women, before feeding them to the pigs. Nevertheless, in a move that will leave me perpetually perplexed, the same jury also concluded that he didn’t plan to kill them:
A jury convicted a 58-year-old pig farmer Sunday of murdering six women, handing him an automatic life sentence but finding that the killings were not planned.
Robert ‘Willie’ Pickton still faces 20 more murder charges for the deaths of women, most of them prostitutes and drug addicts from a seedy Vancouver neighborhood. If convicted on all those charges, he would become Canada’s most prolific serial killer.
The jury of seven men and five women took 10 days to reach a verdict. They had the option of finding Pickton guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter or not guilty on any of the six counts.
First-degree murder, which means a murder was planned, also carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison but does not offer parole eligibility for 25 years. The second-degree charge offers parole eligibility in 10 years.
Does it make any sense to you that, with that evidence before them, the jury could hold that Pickton murdered the women and simultaneously mitigate his sentence by concluding that he didn’t mean to do so?