NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. Evelyn Youngchief could handle the questions about her friend Georgina Papin at Robert Pickton's murder trial until she was asked about the size of Ms. Papin's shoes.
"The most remarkable and distinctive thing about Ms. Papin was she had very tiny feet," defence lawyer Richard Brooks said during the trial's 15th week. He asked her to confirm that Ms. Papin wore a Size 5 shoe.
Ms. Youngchief paused and reached for a tissue. "Yes, she had little feet," Ms. Youngchief said. "The last time I saw her, she was wearing the shoes I gave her," she said, adding that the shoes had four- or five-inch platforms.
Ms. Youngchief repeatedly dabbed her eyes as the questioning continued. She told the court that Ms. Papin appeared to have dropped between 20 and 30 pounds in the five months before she last saw her in January, 1999.
She was asked whether Ms. Papin had tattoos. Ms. Youngchief's voice trailed off and she appeared to be looking off in the distance.
Speaking softly, she said she saw them but she could not remember what they were.
Ms. Papin is one of six women that Mr. Pickton is accused of murdering. Ms. Papin's partial remains were found on the Pickton farm. She was reported missing on March 4, 2001, two years after she stopped picking up prescription medicines and using the province's medical services plan.
Ms. Youngchief said she met Ms. Papin in Edmonton 21 years earlier, when both were prostitutes. Ms. Papin was still working as a prostitute in 1998, Ms. Youngchief said.
She confirmed that Ms. Papin had a serious problem with heroin and crack cocaine.
Ms. Papin was street-wise, really tough and could be really mean when she was angry with someone, she said. She carried pepper spray or a knife, the jury was told.
Ms. Youngchief also recounted that Ms. Papin was wearing bandages on her wrist when she last saw her. Ms. Papin told her that she had had a fight with her ex-boyfriend.
Another witness during the 15h week of the trial, Mary-Lou Wasacase, sat in the witness box and looked sadly at a large poster of 48 women leaning on the wall next to her.
Most of the pictures were police mug shots; few were flattering.
She was asked to pick out Brenda Wolfe and Mona Wilson two of the six women Mr. Pickton is accused of killing She saw the picture of Ms. Wolfe ``No. 48," she said and was asked if the picture more closely resembled Ms. Wolfe when she first met her or when she last saw her.
``Closer to when I last saw her," said Ms. Wasacase in a barely audible voice.
Ms. Wasacase also identified Ms. Wilson ``she's No. 4" on the poster, in which all 48 women are pictured with numbers below their faces.
The poster is known as exhibit six in the Pickton trial and on it are the faces of a number of murdered and missing women whose names and pictures were compiled as part of the Missing Women Joint Task Force.
The witness, who seemed emotional at times, especially when she looked at the poster board of the missing women, struck a sad note for some of the spectators when she was asked by defence lawyer Joe Saulnier if she was aware that Ms. Wolfe was "`paid to beat up other women."
Ms. Wasacase said she was not aware of that.
"When I knew her she supplemented her welfare by working on the street for her babies," said Ms. Wasacase.
She said she knew Ms. Wolfe and Ms. Wilson to be sex-trade workers because she used to see them standing on the corner of Powell and Cordova when Ms. Wasacase went by using public transit.
The corner was a favourite for sex-trade workers in the area, she said.
Meanwhile, later in the 15th week of the trial, one of the witnesses contradicted statements she gave police five years earlier.