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Pickton jurors look back on trial's boredom, trauma

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Two of the jurors who convicted Robert Pickton of murdering six women, sending him to prison for life, say the weeks of DNA evidence in the mammoth case stick in their minds more than the gory details.

In exclusive interviews with The Canadian Press, two of the 12 jurors on one of the most gruesome murder cases in Canadian history say the case will leave no lasting impact on their psyche.

But one juror admits it was tough sledding.

"There were a couple of days in the middle or fairly early on in the second or third month, I can't remember how many days in a row we spent there listening about socks," said the juror, who can't be named because a publication ban bars jurors from being identified.

He was referring to days of testimony about bags of clothes found on Mr. Pickton's property, including pairs of socks tested for the presence of the victims' DNA.

"I know I fell asleep once during that period of time in the courtroom because I was so bored with it," the juror said. "And I think perhaps a couple of the other jurors did too."

Unlike the United States, Canadian law prohibits jurors from talking publicly about their actual deliberations.

The jury convicted Mr. Pickton, a onetime pig farmer from Port Coquitlam, B.C., in the killing and dismembering of six women from Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside.

The jury deliberated for 10 days after hearing evidence in a trial that started last January.

It was the science and not the grisly photographs of the women's remains that sticks in the two jurors' minds days after they delivered their verdict.

"Lots and lots of good educated people there on the witness stand," another juror said. "Lots to learn from those guys."

But both said they weren't bothered by the graphic evidence that had forced the judge to warn prospective jurors during the selection process that if they were sensitive to horror films they should stay away.

Jurors saw photographs of the bisected heads of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson and Andrea Joesbury with their hands and feet placed inside their skulls.

They also heard about Brenda Wolfe's partial jawbone, Georgina Papin's hand bones and a section of Marnie Frey's jaw found on the property.

"I've seen a lot of fairly gory scenes in my life so that didn't particularly bother me all that much," said the first juror.

Jurors have been offered counselling, though the second juror said he thinks the only balm for the traumas inflicted by the trial will be time.

"It was hard to take everything in, all the scenes, all the witnesses," he said. "They tell us it has an effect on the mind.

"We are human."

Despite the close quarters, the 10 months of trial and 10 days of deliberations, both said the seven men and five women got along well.

"Twelve people to go together for one year, it is hard," said the second juror.

On the popular social networking site Facebook, three of the jurors are friends, the details of how they know each other listed as "They have worked at can't tell you....very secret... since 2007."

The first juror said he imagines the group will stay in touch, though he said he's picked up his life from where he left off.

"When we finished deliberations I went to a hockey game with a friend on Sunday night," he said.

"It was right back into the same routine that I would have been in before."

The second juror said he went home that night and had a joyful reunion with his wife, children and grandchildren.

Neither seemed overwhelmed by the role they played in Canadian legal history and both suggested they'd serve as jurors again.

The second juror however said the trial did change one thing - how he thought about Mr. Pickton's six victims.

All struggled with drug addiction and worked as prostitutes to support their habits.

"I was thinking these girls they are on the streets, misbehaviour or something like that," he said.

"In one year I learned something more. Society gave them these things ... those drug people, they used them.

"Why did somebody kill them, you know? It should not be that way in this society."

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