November 14, 2013 - 2:59 PM
KAMLOOPS - The criminal history of one of the victims has begun to unravel before the jury in a Kamloops murder trial.
Roy Frederick Fraser is charged with first and second degree murder after the bodies of Kenneth Yaretz Jr., 24, and Damien Marks, 31, were found buried at Knouff Lake in 2009. He pleaded not guilty, and his trial began on Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops.
Multiple witnesses — friends and family of Yaretz Jr. — have been drilled by defence lawyers about his gang ties. His step-mother told the court yesterday he introduced her to high-profile Independent Soldier Jayme Russell. She also said she was concerned Yaretz Jr. had no real job but was able to sustain himself.
Today his father, Ken Yaretz Sr., testified and maintained he didn't know whether his son was affiliated to the gang. He said he barely saw his son in 2009 when he died — maybe six or 12 times at most — and simply didn't know. Defence lawyer Sandy Watt caught Yaretz Sr. in a contradictory statement he originally provided to police during the missing persons investigation, where he said he knew his son was involved with some criminal activity.
However, he denied his former statement on the stand.
"As you can see, pretty much a panic-stricken parent off on a tangent," Yaretz Sr. said on the stand, raising his voice.
He did, however, admit Yaretz Jr. asked for help with a grow-op in Barriere, to 'tap it' and bypass the hydro system. He also told the jury he knew his son owned an illegal handgun.
"Your son told you he carried a hand gun for protection?" said Watt. "That didn't indicate to you the possibility of some kind of involvement with bad people?"
"Oh, I wasn't happy about it, counsel," Yaretz Sr. said.
Watt then suggested Yaretz Sr. in fact bypassed the hydro at Fraser's property.
"That is not true," Yaretz Sr. said. "No sir."
Marks' friend also testified today, telling the jury he and his 'best friend' smoked marijuana and dabbled in cocaine while partying.
"It's part of our lifestyle," said Jesse Korbeg, 36. "We'd be out drinking and maybe grab a half gram of cocaine or something, just to keep the party going."
He said he never met Yaretz Jr. but spoke about him with Marks.
"Marks told you that his friend Ken was part of the Independent Soldiers?" asked defence lawyer Jordan Watt.
"I believe so," he said.
The trial is expected to last four to five weeks.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013