UPDATE: Kelowna man charged in nearly three-year-old murder | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Kelowna man charged in nearly three-year-old murder

Steve Pirko is charged with the murder of Chris Ausman, who was found dead on a Rutland street in January, 2014.
Image Credit: Facebook
November 21, 2016 - 2:21 PM

KELOWNA - A local man has been charged with second-degree murder in a case police have said little about since January, 2014.

That’s when a body was found on a blood-stained sidewalk along the 100 block of Highway 33 in Rutland. Police never released the name of the man found, but he was later identified as Chris Ausman. 

iNFOnews.ca has learned that Steven Randy Pirko, born 1992, was arrested on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 and charged with Ausman’s murder. He remains in custody at least until another court hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Police have not yet confirmed the arrest and charges.

Pirko has a lengthy record for mostly petty theft, drug possession charges and probation breaches. It appears from his Facebook page that he lived in Rutland. His Facebook page contains numerous selfies, along with photos of weapons and drug and gang references. It also includes this, from July 12, 2016:

I wish I took a different path in life
I don’t regret ALL my choices
but some make me sick with myself

Chris Ausman worked at Ace Plumbing and left behind a daughter. Dozens of people have joined a Facebook group created in his memory.

Global Okanagan reported in January 2014 that Ausman was out late that Friday night playing poker two blocks from where he was found dead. Family suspected he was stabbed.

In a release issued today, Nov. 21, Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey confirmed Pirko was charged with second degree murder.

"From the early on-set of this investigation there were key factors to suggest that Christopher’s death was suspicious in nature, as such the Kelowna RCMP Serious Crime Unit assumed conduct of the investigation into his death," O'Donaghey said. "On Friday November 18, 2016, serious crime investigators coordinated and effected the arrest of a suspect believed to be connected with the alleged homicide, of Christopher Ausman."

Court records show Pirko also used the name Lieam Grubisic as an alias, which is spelled very similarly to a man who lives in the Kootenays but is in no way involved.

Christopher Ausman's body was found on the sidewalk in the 100 block of Highway 33 early in the morning on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2014.
Christopher Ausman's body was found on the sidewalk in the 100 block of Highway 33 early in the morning on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2014.
Image Credit: Facebook

— This story was updated at 2:20 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 to include a police statement

— This story was updated at 9:55 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016 to clarify details surrounding Pirko's alias.

— This story was updated at 10 a.m. Nov. 23 to clarify that Lieam Grubisic is an alias likely stolen from another B.C. man.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw 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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