September 25, 2013 - 8:30 AM
KELOWNA – When taken into police custody June of 2010 Joelon Verma shared personal details with someone he believed to be a fellow cellmate.
That individual, however, was an undercover police officer, planted in his cell as part of the homicide investigation into the death of Brittney Lee Irving.
The officer—whose name cannot be published—testified yesterday in Verma's first degree murder trial. Verma is accused in the shooting death of Irving, whose body was found by police on April 26, 2010 in a forested area east of Kelowna.
During the three days he spent in custody with the accused, they discussed whether somebody might be ratting out Verma. Parts of those conversation were played by audio recording for the court.
“Mr. Verma was saying a few words about his cousin,” the officer said after listening to the recording. He recalled asking Verma if his cousin could say anything that would “hurt” or “damage” him.
Verma responded that he didn't know but his cousin was talking to police, the officer said.
“He was saying his cousin has never been a gangster,” never been to jail and had a family with young children.
In the recording the officer cautions Verma about DNA evidence: “That might fuck you.”
Part of Verma's response was “I fucked her, I used to fuck her,” the officer said.
In cross examination however, defence counsel Jordan Watt suggested the officer was planted in the cell to get a confession.
“You have one objective... to get a confession?” Watt asked the witness.
The officer disagreed.
“I go there hoping to get the truth,” he said, adding that in some cases an undercover operation can prove to investigators they have the wrong suspect.
The trial continues today.
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