November 15, 2013 - 9:54 AM
KAMLOOPS - A man found murdered and buried at Knouff Lake was an associate of a high-profile gang member, the jury heard today.
Ken Yaretz Jr.'s stepmother testified today during the double murder trial of Roy Frederick Fraser, and revealed the victim was friendly with notorious Independent Soldier Jayme Russell before he was found dead.
"He introduced me to Jayme Russell," Cherie Delain Yaretz said. "I didn't know who Jayme Russell was."
Fraser is charged with the first degree murder of Damien Marks, 31, and second degree murder of Kenneth Yaretz Jr., 24. Fraser pleaded not guilty to both counts and elected trial by judge and jury that began this week in Kamloops.
The Crown said during its opening statement that a police investigation lead to Fraser's property on Finlay Road at Knouff Lake, where police located the victims' bodies buried in a grave along with a buried .22-caliber rifle, clothes and phones burned in a fire pit, a bobcat with traces of human blood and a dismantled marijuana grow-op.
On day two of the expected month-long trial, Yaretz's step-mom was adamant he wasn't involved in gang activity himself despite his association to Russell.
"He didn't work, surely you must have felt that he must be doing something," said defence lawyer Sandy Watt. "He has no job, and he hangs around bad, bad people."
"He told me he was not a member of that gang," she said. "He just said that he knew him, that he hung with him once in a while."
Yaretz recounted the last time she saw her stepson. She said he'd taken off from her home on April 16, 2009 with Marks.
"I talked to him that night," she said. "He said 'I'm busy give me a few minutes, I'll call you back.'"
She, like Marks' mother, was left waiting for a phone call that would never come. She was teary-eyed on the stand and was joined by several other family members in court. She said the two victims were good friends and enjoyed snowmobiling together, had lived together and had even cooked her family dinner on multiple occasions.
The trial continues today.
To contact a reporter for this story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call: (250) 319-7494 or tweet: @jess__wallace.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013