Accused Rutland killer was in withdrawal when police took him into custody - InfoNews

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Accused Rutland killer was in withdrawal when police took him into custody

Steve Pirko is charged with the murder of Chris Ausman, who was found dead on a Rutland street in January, 2014.
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May 10, 2019 - 2:03 PM

KELOWNA - Steven Pirko was dry heaving and suffering from withdrawal from heroin when he spoke with Mounties in 2016 about the day, nearly three years earlier, when Christopher Ausman was killed.

That, however, didn’t make him less co-operative, says an RCMP officer who was helping take his testimony during the course of the investigation.

“Mr. Pirko wasn’t feeling well and vomited ... in my experience with arresting (people) who are drug addicted, they go through withdrawal,”  Cpl. Kathleen McKinney told the jury at the end of the second week of Pirko’s trial.

READ MORE: It wasn't the fight: Chris Ausman was killed on Kelowna street in 2014 with a hammer

“When he asked for methadone, I asked if had a prescription and he said he didn’t. And although withdrawal is uncomfortable — I am not a medical doctor — Mr. Pirko wanted to have this conversation and had an operating mind to speak with the members about a difficult circumstance.”

During that portion of 2016 investigation, where McKinney said that Pirko dry heaved over a garbage and told her that the lights in his holding cell were uncomfortable, he also asked to speak with his mother and his girlfriend. RCMP obliged.

And although he may have been "dope sick" it's not against any set rules for the RCMP to interview suspects in that condition, said Cpl. Eric Boucher, the RCMP officer who followed. As long as they have the capacity to speak and are showing signs of engagement, the investigation is on the up and up.

Pirko was arrested in November 2016 and in his opening statement, Crown counsel David Grabavac said that's when he told Mounties that he hit Ausman in the head multiple times with a hammer after a fight.

READ MORE: In loving memory of Chris Ausman

He went so far as to demonstrate the action to a police officer who he spoke to two years after the incident.

The jury has heard evidence thus far that Ausman had just left the Rutland 7-Eleven at around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 25, 2014, when he got in a fight with Pirko and his friend Elrich Dyck.

Within half an hour, the 32-year-old's warm, but lifeless body was found by an RCMP officer on the sidewalk of Highway 33, face up with two visible streams of blood coming from it.

Pirko is on trial for second degree murder. The trial is in its second week and expected to continue for three more. Grabavac said 22 witnesses were scheduled to speak.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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