KAMLOOPS — He travelled to Prince George alone after leaving behind his 16-year-old pregnant girlfriend who was later found dead in Kamloops. When Sgt. Todd Wiebe of Prince George RCMP found him, he asked the obvious question.
“I’m going to ask you point blank: Did you kill her?”
“No, I did not kill her,” Damien Taylor said though sobs. “Whoever did this to my girlfriend… she was the love of my life.”
The statement Taylor gave to Wiebe was recorded on video Dec. 5, 2012 and played back to an 11-person jury in Kamloops Supreme Court today, Oct. 2. Taylor, 24, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend, CJ Fowler. Today was the fifth day of his trial.
The same day Taylor gave his statement, Fowler’s body was found near a ravine in Guerin Creek — a neighbourhood in Sahali. Court heard Taylor and Fowler travelled to the city together from Terrace Nov. 30, 2012. Before Fowler’s body was found, Taylor caught a Greyhound bus to Prince George where RCMP officers were waiting to talk to him.
Wiebe, who also appeared in court to watch the video, testified he was ordered by the Kamloops RCMP to treat Taylor solely as a witness to the criminal investigation into Fowler’s death.
“You were obviously clearly upset when I told you she was killed,” Wiebe said in the video, “I just find it a little bit hard to understand how you ended up leaving her behind."
Taylor said he and Fowler went to the hospital together Dec. 4 but at one point during the night she left by herself when he went to the building’s cafeteria.
“We went in emergency and that’s when we found out she was pregnant. She was having breathing problems,” Taylor said. “They said that she left and I said ‘well, which way did she go?’"
"Do you find it odd that she took off?” Weir asked.
"I don’t know when she took off though. I didn’t ask 'til later on. I don’t know when she got picked up,” Taylor said. "I worried about her (on the bus). I was getting very worried about her. I kinda figured the cops would have dropped her off at the Greyhound or the hospital and they didn’t. I figured she got arrested and I was just worried."
"So am I correct in understanding that you were more worried about legal ramifications...?” Wiebe asked.
"My main concern was getting her back to safety,” Taylor said.
Taylor told Wiebe he departed from the hospital around 8 a.m. to walk to the Greyhound station. After she didn’t show and wouldn’t answer her phone, Taylor said he decided to board the bus without her.
Earlier in the video, Wiebe pressed on about who the couple associated with prior to Fowler's death. Taylor indicated one of the friends was dealing drugs.
"I’m just really tired, I don’t think I can do this,” Taylor said. “Every day was getting worse. Even the big guys were getting mad at us. It seemed like they started to threaten us. They were going to take our stuff and pretty much rob us."
“Did you take anything from (them)? We just want to know what happened and figure it out and hold somebody accountable for this,” Wiebe said.
Taylor said Fowler was in possession of one friend’s clothing.
“Can I go for a smoke?” he asked Wiebe.
"We want to make sure we ask you all the right questions. Just hang tight,” Wiebe replied before he left the room.
Alone in the room with the video still recording, Taylor shifted in his seat, played with paper on the desk and began to cry.
When Wiebe re-entered the room he told Taylor he and his colleagues still had questions for him.
“What i suggest is that you actually spend the night in Prince George, we’ll put you up in a hotel and we’ll probably need to speak with you again in the morning. Is that something that you’re willing to do? We’ll hook you up,” he said.
After the video concluded, the accused’s lawyer, Don Campbell questioned the tone of the interview and whether or not his client knew he was free to go.
"I take it you made every effort to communicate to him that this was an informal process,” Campbell said. “He did express an interest in leaving early on in the interview. He says he wants to get ahold of his mom but you ignore him and you continue talking. Is that fair?"
“I didn’t ignore him, I just said I want to speak to him,” Wiebe replied.
Court heard earlier that police searched the room in Prince George where Taylor stayed. In the hotel’s garbage can were a pair of blood-stained socks which matched Fowler’s DNA. In the room’s toilet was a ripped up Greyhound bus ticket.
Following Wiebe’s testimony were two staff members at Royal Inland Hospital who observed the couple before Fowler was found dead.
Dr. Lykke Williamson was the emergency room doctor who observed Fowler after she complained of chest pains attributed to drug use. Williamson said the teen did not exhibit signs of recent drug use other than an increased heart rate. He said her pain could have related to drugs or may have been associated with an anxiety attack.
Williamson said he didn’t remember all of Fowler’s visit to the hospital, but said what struck him as ‘peculiar’ was the way she reacted to news of hearing she was pregnant.
"I’m pretty sure she told me (an underage pregnancy) wasn’t uncommon in her community,” he said. “It’s part of it what made it stick in my mind. She was not distraught. (She) didn’t seem to be afraid of being pregnant. I’ve delivered this news many times before and 99 per cent of the time you have to wait a couple of minutes; they’re so upset they can’t think what comes next."
Williamson added Taylor did not react to the news. After Williamson testified, Ian Wood, a former triage nurse, took the stand.
Wood said he checked Fowler in to the ER and noticed both she and Taylor were calm. But it was when the couple left together he said he noticed the two carried a different tone.
"I heard his voice raised and she kind of barked back at him,” Wood told police. "It just got my attention and I heard them as they got out the door as well.”
The trial is expected to continue next week.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.