Wednesday, March 5, 2008

'I'm like the Pickton of Alberta

'I'm like the Pickton of Alberta,' suspect told sister on tape Ryan Cormier Edmonton Journal Thursday, February 28, 2008 Thomas Svekla referred to himself as the "Pickton of Alberta" when describing how famous he was in jail, his double-murder trial heard Wednesday. The court heard recorded phone conversations Svekla -- accused of killing two prostitutes -- had with his sister and mother while he was being held at the Edmonton Remand Centre in August 2006. At one point, Svekla told his sister, Donna Parkinson, that a lot of other inmates in the remand centre were "out to get him." "If I'm in the paper, if I'm in the news, I become a target," he told her during a face-to-face visit. " 'There's that serial killer, let's get him.' I'm like the Pickton of Alberta." Svekla faces second-degree murder charges in the deaths of Rachel Quinney, 19, and Theresa Innes, 36. He has pleaded not guilty. Svekla made a point of telling his sister how famous he was in the remand centre, describing the special unit he was in. "They only keep 12 people up there. You have to be famous or well-known. People on the news." However, Svekla was apparently aware of the danger he was in and grew his hair long to try and avoid being recognized. Svekla told both Parkinson and his mother, Emily Svekla, he was going to make a lot of money once he was found not guilty and had filed a wrongful prosecution lawsuit. "I got a nice chunk of change waiting for me when this is all said and done." Svekla seemed confident he would walk away from his two second-degree murder charges. "They got nothing, Donna. I might get out next year, on bail. They can't hold me here," he said. "For a motive, they think I'm a serial killer. That's the only motive. I think it's kind of funny, actually." Svekla told his sister he had no idea how Theresa Innes died. Her body was identified as the one in a hockey bag Svekla left in Parkinson's truck in May 2006. His sister was suspicious of the contents of the bag and opened it. Once she found the body, she called police, Parkinson testified earlier this week. Svekla was worried there would have been a mess on his sister's garage floor once she opened the bag. "Did I make a mess?" He repeatedly asked. He added he didn't want to open the bag because it was "kinda squishy." Svekla also told Parkinson she had done the right thing by calling police. "Donna, you did good. Don't ever think you did wrong. You did the right thing, I love you." However, in a taped phone call the next day to his mother, Svekla said he didn't "totally forgive" Parkinson. "They're probably going to get her to testify. I'm trying to get her not to, you know what I mean?" © The Calgary Herald 2008

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