‘Pickton of Alberta’ convicted in prostitute killing
EDMONTON — A 40-year-old mechanic who once called himself the “Pickton of Alberta” was convicted yesterday of second-degree murder in the death of one of two prostitutes he’d been charged with killing.
Thomas Svekla murdered Theresa Merrie Innes, 36, but there was no evidence linking him to the death of 19-year-old Rachel Liz Quinney, an Edmonton judge ruled.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sterling Sanderman also ruled that Svekla was guilty of committing an indignity to the body of Innes, a mother of two who was working as a prostitute to support her addiction to crack cocaine.
The judge found Svekla killed Innes around Christmas 2005, cocooned her body in his shower curtain and an air mattress, stuffed it in a hockey bag and hauled it home to Fort Saskatchewan in May 2006, after getting out of jail.
He rejected Svekla’s claim that he simply found the elaborately wrapped body in his truck, calling the explanation “fanciful,” “ridiculous” and “preposterous.”
Svekla showed little emotion as the verdicts were read, but gulped several times when the judge characterized him as a liar or put forward some aspect of law that tied Svekla to the crime.
Innes’s family wept when they heard the verdict midway through the two-hour decision, clutching one another and burying their heads in each other’s shoulders.
Meanwhile, Quinney’s large family sat silently in the front row as Sanderman detailed the problems with the Crown’s case against Svekla in her death. The 19-year-old mother of two also struggled with drug addiction and turned to prostitution to support her habit.
The medical examiner was unable to say how Quinney died and could not rule out the possibility that she died from a cocaine overdose.