September 13, 2013 - 9:20 AM
KELOWNA – Brittney Irving was heavily addicted to drugs in the months leading up to her fatal shooting, a Kelowna court heard today.
Irving's best friend Cassandra Berard told the jury how Irving's drug habit escalated in the last two months she saw her - taking up to 14 pills of oxycontin a day.
Berard's testimony comes in the second day of the trial for Joe Verma, accused of first degree murder in the 2010 shooting death of Brittney Lee Irving. Police found Irving's body April 26, 2010 shot four times, twice in the back.
By the age of 14 Irving was using cocaine, Berard told a 14-member jury, the two of them experimenting with ecstasy and crystal meth as they got older.
In his cross examination, defence lawyer Alexander Watt asked the witness how the two friends were finding ways to pay for their expensive drug habit. During the short time she was married, Irving was sleeping with other men, Berard said.
“This was a true lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock n' roll,” Watt said and she agreed.
He suggested Irving started growing marijuana in various locations in and outside Kelowna and sold to “not very nice people.” Berard agreed but didn't know the buyers.
Watt suggested she made $10,000 a month, and was "pretty successful" with her operations. Berard said she didn't know much about the business but agreed her friend became obsessed with money, taking orders from buyers throughout the day using multiple cellphones.
It was one of those grow operations that got Irving arrested, Crown lawyer Mallory Treddenick said in her opening submission yesterday. Treddenick said Irving was stressed about paying the related legal fees. Shortly after meeting Verma through a friend she arranged a drug deal with him to help pay for those fees, Treddenick said.
One text message from Verma found on Irving's phone read: “Well we're good for that.”
During their investigation police found two of Irving's cellphones in her abandoned SUV. Investigators who retrieved the last messages from Irving's phones are 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.
Links: Part one coverage of the trial
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013