October 15, 2013 - 2:46 PM
UPDATE: The jury is out as of 2 p.m.
9:33 a.m. Oct. 15, 2013
KELOWNA - A jury of 12 people is expected to begin deliberations in the complicated trial of Joelon "Joey" Verma by this afternoon.
Last week, Kelowna Supreme Court Justice Alison Beames said she expected to finish giving the jury its final instructions today. After that, they will be sequestered—held together, unable to speak to anyone outside the jury—until they reach a decision.
Verma is charged with the first degree murder of Brittney Irving, who went missing in April, 2010. In the last Kelowna murder trial, the jury deliberated for only five hours before declaring Kieth Wiens guilty of second-degree murder. But this case likely won't be so quick. Crown evidence is entirely circumstantial and jurors were asked to read dozens of pages of text messages between Verma and Irving and others before deciding the case.
The Crown has almost no forensic evidence linking Verma to her death. The Crown says before she died, Irving was desperate to raise money for a lawyer after she was charged with operating a marijuana grow operation. In the days before she disappeared, she was frantically trying to broker as much marijuana as she could and the Crown says she delivered it all to Verma expecting to get paid. Instead, the Crown says he shot her in the back in a forested area off Philpott Road.
The defence says text messages are not enough evidence to convict and many of the witnesses who testified were unreliable drug dealers. The defence did not call any evidence.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013