Mon, Nov 19, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Canadian serial killer trial wraps up


Closing arguments in the trial of a farmer accused of being Canada's worst serial killer begin today.

Robert "Willie" Pickton went on trial in January for the first six of 26 charges of first-degree murder he faces in the deaths of women, most of them prostitutes and drug addicts that went missing from a seedy Vancouver neighborhood.

Prosecutors said early in the trial that the 57-year-old Pickton told an undercover officer he killed 49 women and was caught before he could reach his goal of 50.

The defense has acknowledged the remains of the six women Pickton is accused of killing were found on his Vancouver-area pig farm. But it denied Pickton was responsible in their deaths.

The prosecution's key witness testified that she walked in on a blood-covered Pickton as he was gutting a woman's body hanging from a chain in the slaughterhouse of his suburban Vancouver farm. Lynn Ellingsen testified that Pickton told her that if she said anything she'd "be right beside her."

Another witness testified that Pickton told him how he strangled his victims while he had sex with them in his trailer. Andrew Bellwood also said Pickton told him he would take the bodies out to his slaughterhouse where he would gut and butcher them.

Some of the remains would be fed to pigs while the rest would go into barrels of pig waste from Pickton's animal slaughtering business, Bellwood said.

Health officials once issued a tainted meat advisory to neighbors who might have bought pork from his farm, concerned the meat might have contained human remains.

Though Pickton has been charged with the deaths of 26 women, almost 40 names remain on an official police list of women who have been declared missing. The investigation into their disappearances is still active.

Jurors will hear both sides sum up their arguments beginning today. Deliberations are expected to start on Monday or Tuesday next week.

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