Thursday, March 6, 2008

Svekla found body in truck

Svekla found body in truck: sister Faces two counts of second-degree murder in deaths of sex-trade workers Karen Kleiss The Edmonton Journal Thursday, March 06, 2008 CREDIT: Supplied Thomas Svekla first day of trial. Thomas Svekla told his sister he found Theresa Innes's body in the back of his pickup, stuffed it in a hockey bag and hauled it to Edmonton so she could be with her family, court heard on Wednesday. "He said he took all his stuff out of his bag because he wanted to put the body in there, and he said he wrapped his, what was it, blow-up mattress around the body," Svekla's sister Sharyn Durocher told Const. Kevin Kunetzki in a September 2006 interview, according to transcripts read in court. "He said he wanted to bring her home," Durocher told Kunetzki. On Wednesday, she acknowledged that her brother later changed his story, telling her he had found Innes's body in the cab of his pickup truck. During more than an hour of testimony, Durocher repeatedly claimed she had little memory of conversations with her brother after he was arrested and charged with murder. When confronted with transcripts of her interviews with investigators, she agreed she had been truthful with police. Under cross-examination, she admitted it was possible her brother was talking about bringing Innes's body to his own home in Fort Saskatchewan. Court also heard Wednesday that Svekla insisted on loading the hockey bag containing Innes's remains into his mother's car after returning from High Level in May 2006. He had a casual chat with his sister about the bag, which he said was full of compost worms. "He asked me, 'Do you think the compost worms are going to leak out into mom's trunk?' and I said, 'No,' " Durocher said. Svekla, a 39-year-old mechanic, faces two charges of second-degree murder in the deaths of Innes, 36, and Rachel Quinney, 19, both sex-trade workers. Court has heard that Svekla found Quinney's body in a stand of trees in June 2004, and in May 2006 transported Innes's body in a hockey bag from High Level. Earlier this week, a neighbour testified that Svekla knew Quinney and Innes and introduced them to his father. However, George Svekla denied knowing either woman. Thomas Svekla has rejected suggestions that he had anything more than a passing acquaintance with either of the victims. Last week, court heard Svekla boasted to his sister during a conversation at the Edmonton Remand Centre. "I'm like the Pickton of Alberta," he told her, comparing himself to B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton, who was convicted last year of killing six women. He also told his sister he was in a special unit for high-profile inmates. "They only keep 12 people up there," he said. "You have to be famous, or well-known. People on the news." On Wednesday, Sharyn Durocher testified her brother told her he felt like a "celebrity." Svekla is the only person to be charged by Project Kare, a task force investigating the deaths and disappearances of more than 70 people living high-risk lifestyles, including sex-trade workers. The trial will resume today with testimony from medical examiners who did autopsies on Innes and Quinney. © The Edmonton Journal 2008

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