March 24, 2015 - 3:18 PM
PENTICTON - John Ike Koopmans was intoxicated and in a foul mood the night Keith Wharton and Rose Fox were killed and Bradley Martin shot, according to his former girlfriend.
Elaine Hoiland told the jury in the double-murder trial in Penticton Law Courts today, March 24, Koopmans walked out of her house at 340 Tulameen Avenue the night of the murders saying: “That’s it, I’m out of here. I can’t do this anymore, you bitch.”
Koopmans is accused of the murders of Wharton and Fox, and the attempted murder of Martin on an industrial rural property east of Princeton during the evening of Saturday, March 30, 2013.
According to Hoiland, the two spent the day together. Hoiland accompanied Koopmans on a trip up Highway 5A north of Princeton for most of the day. Koopmans did not have a driver’s licence at the time and, according to Hoiland, had consumed two 26-ounce bottles of vodka and a mickey of whiskey between Friday, March 29 and Saturday morning, March 30. Koopmans, a prospector, was collecting steel balls off the roadside to use as a grinding medium in a cement mixer where he hoped to grind up quartz rock in order to separate gold from it.
They returned to Hoilands’ house after stopping at a grocery store to purchase food for Easter supper that evening. Koopmans purchased another bottle of vodka as well, she said. After arriving back at the house around 7:30 p.m. Hoiland became annoyed at having to purchase cigarettes on her credit card, saying she "just wanted time to think things out.”
She said Koopmans, who had been out chopping wood, came in, noticed her mood and became “pretty grumpy.” Then he stormed out of the house.
Hoiland told jurors she and Koopmans were just friends at the time. They had known each other for 26 years and began a serious relationship eight years ago following their respective divorces. The relationship had been intimate, but had since soured, and at the time of the shootings, Hoiland described themselves as “reconciling.” Koopmans had been sleeping on the couch at Hoiland’s house since December of 2012.
Hoiland said Koopmans left his keys and cell phone behind. She put the supper ingredients away, had a cigarette, and went to bed, only to be awakened by Koopman’s cell phone ringing at 3 a.m. She stayed in bed, tossed and turned until 5 a.m. The cell phone rang two more times during that period. She tried to check Koopmans’ cell phone, but accidentally shut it off and couldn’t turn it back on.
She sat down to watch TV until she got drowsy and a couple of hours later returned to bed.
“I dozed off, and thought I heard John calling my name,” she told court. “I heard police calling, ‘John, open the door, it’s the police.'” She said she opened the door and heard a police bullhorn giving her instructions which she followed. She was eventually placed in a police cruiser.
“I was devastated,” she said. “I didn’t understand what was going on.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015