Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Accused fears he's seen as 'Pickton of Alberta'

Accused fears he's seen as 'Pickton of Alberta' Last Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 11:27 PM MT CBC News The man accused of killing two prostitutes in the Edmonton area told his sister that he feared for his life in jail because he's perceived as the "the Pickton of Alberta." The conversation between Thomas Svekla and his sister, Donna Parkinson, was secretly recorded by police at the Edmonton Remand Centre in August 2006, three months after Svekla was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The wiretap conversation was played at Svekla's trial in Edmonton on Wednesday. "There's some people who are out to get me," Svekla told his sister when she came to the jail to visit him. "If I'm in the paper, I'm in the news, I become a target. "That's the serial killer. Let's get him. I'm the Pickton of Alberta." Robert William Pickton, a B.C. pig farmer, was convicted in December of the second-degree murder of six women who went missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. He is accused of killing 20 other women and is scheduled to face a second trial at a later date. Svekla's sister turned her brother in to police in 2006 after she opened up the hockey bag he left in her Fort Saskatchewan home, northeast of Edmonton, and found a dead woman's body wrapped in plastic. The remains turned out to be those of Theresa Innes, 36, one of the two women Svekla is accused of killing. He's also charged in the death of Rachel Quinney, 19. Svekla forgives sister for turning him in Svekla, in the recorded conversation, told his sister that he wasn't mad that she called the RCMP about the discovery. "You did good," he told her. "You did what was right." But in a separate conversation recorded with his mother the next day, also played in court, Svekla admitted he wanted to make his sister feel guilty so that she would not testify against him. But Parkinson has since taken the stand, telling the court on Monday about the day she discovered the body. She is considered one of the Crown's key witnesses. 'They don't have evidence' During the conversation with his sister, Svekla said he didn't believe he would be convicted of killing Innes and Quinney. He told police he didn't kill Innes, but was transporting her body back from the northern Alberta town of High Level so she could be buried in the Edmonton area. He also told authorities he didn't kill Quinney, but only stumbled upon her mutilated body by chance when he went into a wooded area east of Edmonton to relieve himself after smoking crack cocaine for several hours with a prostitute. "There's no evidence — they don't have evidence," Svekla told his sister. "They can't hold me here, so they're going to let me go. "They have nothing, Donna, I might be getting out of here next year." He told his sister that once he was acquitted, he would sue the Alberta government and collect hundreds of thousands of dollars. Svekla is the first person to be charged by Project Kare, an RCMP task force investigating the deaths and disappearances of dozens of women who worked in the sex trade.

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