Sunday April 20, 2014

Crown details double-murder theory

'I don't know how many times I have to tell you: I didn't kill those guys'

Roy Fraser

Damien Marks' mother let out an anguished cry in a courtroom as a Crown lawyer outlined a scenario detailing how her only child was murdered and buried by Roy Fraser.

Prosecutor Tim Livingston asked Fraser a series of questions in cross-examination. The 56-year-old man is accused of first-degree murder in Marks' death and second-degree murder in Ken Yaretz Jr.'s death.

Donna Kowalski cried out as the prosecutor described the Crown's theory that after killing the two men and en route to burying them, Fraser dangled their bodies from a Bobcat bucket, tied with yellow rope — her son's head swinging and hitting the skid plate leaving DNA evidence later found by police.

"No, sir, I didn't bury those bodies," Fraser said. "I did not kill those guys."

Fraser was on the stand in B.C. Supreme Court for the second day for cross-examination as the Crown sought to undermine his credibility. While he described himself as a small-time grower, in 2005 and 2006 Fraser admitted to selling $180,000 worth of marijuana in three grows.

Cross-examination also determined that he neglected to tell police working on what was then a missing persons investigation significant details of when he last saw Marks.

Tuesday also marked the clearest statement of the Crown's theory of how the two friends died after they went missing April 17, 2009, and the motivation for the murder:

* Yaretz Jr. owed Fraser several thousand dollars that he never paid from a grow-op the two partnered on.

* Fraser was increasingly and visibly angry that Yaretz Jr. took his truck for months and never returned it.

* The self-described Independent Solider used Fraser's residence for storage without paying, cut the lock on his gate and kicked in the garage door.

* On April 17 — the last day the two were seen — an indebted Yaretz Jr. was coming to steal valuable wildlife mounts from Fraser.

* Fraser shot Yaretz in his entryway and then killed Marks, the only witness, as he ran away.

* Fraser used yellow rope from his property, wrapping Yaretz Jr.'s body around the shoulders and Marks' around the ankles, and moved the bodies with his Bobcat into a hole already dug and intended as a marijuana grow-op garbage pit.

To each suggestion made during cross-examination, Fraser answered "no."

"I don't know how many times I have to tell you: I didn't kill those guys," Fraser testified.

Yaretz Jr.'s blood was found in Fraser's home, while Marks' blood was found in his van — an attempt made to clean it up. The van was parked April 19 in front the apartment from where Marks had just moved.

The defence has not suggested any alibi, other than Fraser left his house occasionally around that period to tend to a neighbour's house. The Crown has no blood or fingerprints from Fraser that link him to the death, nor do police know exactly when and where the two were killed.

Defence lawyers have suggested Yaretz Jr. owed a significant drug debt to a Kelowna gang, marking him as a potential target. Both Yaretz Jr. and Marks were seen by friends or relatives in the months before their death with handguns.

The only witness for the defence was Fraser. With end of his cross-examination Tuesday, lawyers are expected to start final arguments before the jury Wednesday.

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