VERMA TRIAL: Victim found shot to death in woods east of Kelowna

Brittney Lee Irving, then 24, was found shot to death in a forested area east of Kelowna.
Image Credit: Contributed

KELOWNA – Brittney Lee Irving handed over two garbage bags of marijuana to the man accused of shooting her four times, a jury heard in the first day of the murder trial of Joe Verma. 

In her outline of the Crown's case today, prosecutor Mallory Treddenick told a Kelowna Supreme Court jury text messages recovered from Irving's cellphone suggest she was on her way to meet Verma April 6, 2010, the day she was reported missing.

The Crown said it intends to prove the two were closing a $100,000 drug deal in which Irving supplied Verma with the bags of marijuana. The two were to meet again somewhere along Highway 33.

The last outgoing text message found on Irving's phone said: “On route babe see you in ten.”

A day later police found Irving's abandoned SUV near Philpott Road in East Kelowna. Three weeks later, Irving, 24, was found in a wooded area off McCulloch Road. She was shot four times—twice in the back.

Police witness Const. Timothy Russell, the first witness to testify, described to the jury how he found Irving's body on a patch of snow, with no trace of blood.

“I was surprised animals hadn't been on the body,” Russell said, also describing a faint odour at the scene.

It's in the same area cell towers picked up a signal from Verma's cellphone. Verma's cousin Jason Labonte is also expected to testify he received a text message from Verma on April 6 asking for help because his truck was stuck in the mud.

Verma later told police he was meeting Irving to buy two pounds of marijuana.

Up to 40 witnesses are expected to testify in the trial, scheduled for seven weeks. Some of the dealers who supplied Irving with drugs are expected to testify.

None of the charges have been proven in court. He is being tried by a jury.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at or call (250)718-0428.

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