September 23, 2013 - 3:03 PM
KELOWNA – Brittney Irving never showed up for a planned meeting on the last day she was seen alive, according to Joelon Verma, the man accused of killing her.
In a video statement Verma gave police a week after she disappeared, Verma said he spent April 6, 2010 at his cousin's house waiting for Irving to bring him a sample of marijuana, a Kelowna Supreme Court jury heard today.
The recorded police interview was shown in court today in his first degree murder trial. Verma is accused in the 2010 shooting death of then 24-year-old Brittney Lee Irving.
His last contact with her was a series of text messages.
“She was texting me she had something for me to take a look at,” he told RCMP Const. Fred Coon, who testified in court today.
“Not a big amount, honestly it was just a couple pounds,” Verma said.
While the Crown alleges Irving was selling 50 pounds of marijuana to the accused, Verma says he was not in the market for such a large amount.
When Irving's brother Joze Macculloch suggested otherwise in a phone call on April 7 Verma told him, “that's bullshit, there's no big deal going on between me and your sister.”
The two first met just a couple of weeks prior to Irving's disappearance and occasionally hung out at McCulloch Station pub for beers, Verma told police. Irving was “having a rough time, snorting a lot of coke,” stressed and scared about finding money to pay for legal fees, he said.
"I figured I would help," he said, doing her a favour by paying for a hotel room where her brother and she could stay until they had more money.
Later in the interview Const. Coon asks Verma what he thought might have happened to Irving.
“She owed a lot of money,” he said, explaining she could have made some enemies if people didn't get paid.
“I hope she's on a binge,” he said, expecting she might return from a long stint of partying. While a heavy drug user, Irving wasn't a "crackhead," Verma said. Pointing to his head he said, “up here she was a cool chick.”
Verma appeared anxious in the video, telling Const. Coon he didn't want to be blamed and feared for the safety of his family, including his pregnant wife.
“I met one fucking chick like this and now I'm in here... I just hope this gets cleared up.”
Verma's cousin, Jason Labonte, is expected to testify later in the trial.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013