Sunday, March 9, 2008

Svekla said he put body in duffle bag

Svekla said he put body in duffle bag, sister testifies Karen Kleiss Wednesday, March 05, 2008 CREDIT: Supplied Thomas Svekla first day of trial. EDMONTON - Thomas Svekla told his sister he found Theresa Innes's body in the back of his truck, wrapped her in an air mattress and stuffed her in a duffle bag, but later changed his story and said he found her in the cab of the pickup, court heard this morning. The alleged prostitute killer also told his sister he brought Innes's body back home so she could be with her family, Sharyn Durocher acknowledged Wednesday. During more than an hour of testimony, Durocher repeatedly claimed she had little memory of conversations with her brother, but when confronted with transcripts of her interviews with police, she agreed she was telling the truth when she told police she spoke with him at length about Innes. "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," Durocher told Const. Kevin Kunetzki in a September 2006 interview, according to transcripts read in court. "He said he wanted to bring her home," she told Kunetzki. Under cross-examination, she testified it was possible that Svekla was talking about bringing her to his own home in Fort Saskatchewan. Court also heard that Svekla insisted on loading the hockey bag containing Innes's remains into his mother's car, and then asked Durocher whether she thought it would leak, court heard this morning. He told her it 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 and two charges of interfering with a dead body in the deaths of Innes, 36, and of Rachel Quinney, 19, both sex-trade workers struggling with addiction. Svekla found Quinney's body in a stand of trees in June 2004, and nearly two years later, in May 2006, he transported Innes's body in a hockey bag from High Level. Earlier this week, court heard Svekla knew both Quinney and Innes and had introduced them to his father. A neighbour testified that Svekla's father, George, had confided this to her, but the elder Svekla adamantly denied it on the stand. Last week, court heard Svekla boasting to his sister during a wiretapped 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 reserved 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." 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 Thursday morning with testimony from medical examiners who did autopsies on Innes and Quinney. © Edmonton Journal 2008

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