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Forensics don't match up, Pickton defence says

The Canadian Press

New Westminster, B.C. — There is more DNA evidence against an acquaintance of Robert Pickton than there is against the accused serial killer, lawyer Adrian Brooks argued Wednesday.

Mr. Brooks, in the third day of closing arguments, said DNA matches of Pat Casanova, who was an acquaintance of Mr. Pickton in their small pig-butchering business, were found in areas “that are significant.”

“You will see clearly that the Pat Casanova evidence is stronger forensic evidence than Willie Pickton's,” the lawyer said.

Using PowerPoint slides, Mr. Brooks took the jury inside a part of Mr. Pickton's slaughterhouse, specifically pointing to the east wall of the building.

He made a comparison of items in that area and asked the jury to consider how many were linked to Mr. Pickton's DNA and how many were linked to Mr. Casanova.

Mr. Brooks said many more items in that area were linked by DNA to Mr. Casanova than to Mr. Pickton.

“What we have as we deal with this evidence of Mr. Casanova is it associates him to sites, particular places; it associates him to women,” Mr. Brooks said.

“It does so in a way that I suggest to you is very important to take into account. Take into account please how it is stronger than the evidence against Mr. Pickton.”

Mr. Brooks pointed to other DNA evidence of Mr. Casanova in Mr. Pickton's trailer residence and on other items including a plastic sheet located near a freezer in Mr. Pickton's workshop.

DNA samples from a door in the barn showed a mix of Mr. Casanova and Mona Wilson, one of the women Mr. Pickton is accused of killing.

“Can the Crown seriously suggest to you that when it comes to that kind of swab of particular stains that are shown on the door, when that's done, is it seriously going to be suggested to you that one landed there and the next one landed there some time later?” Mr. Brooks asked the jury.

“Could that seriously be suggested? Ladies and gentlemen, that is not the case. I suggest to you that you draw the inference that this association is probably the strongest, indeed it is the strongest of Mr. Casanova. It is very, very important to understand the evidence.”

The Crown has not yet had started its final arguments to address the DNA findings inside the slaughterhouse.

Mr. Brooks said bullets found in the remains of three women Mr. Pickton is charged with killing were never matched to any guns on the farm.

He cautioned the jury not to jump to any conclusions about one of the guns found on the property that contained both Mr. Pickton's and one of the women's DNA.

The fact that a bullet from that gun was found in another building on the property shows it wasn't just handled by the accused, said Mr. Brooks.

The defence lawyer reminded the jurors that two other guns found on the farm were never matched to the bullets in the remains.

Mr. Pickton is currently on trial for the murders of six Vancouver women and is expected to stand trial on a remaining 20 charges at a later date.

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