VERMA TRIAL: Victim's body found in early state of decomposition
By Julie Whittet
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September 12, 2013 - 3:54 PM
KELOWNA – By the time police found Brittney Irving, her body was in an early stage of decomposition, a Kelowna Supreme Court jury heard today.
A cluster of larvae found in the victim's nose at the crime scene indicated her body was left there for a number of days, pathologist Charles Lee said today in the trial for Joe Verma.
Verma is charged with first degree murder in the April 2010 shooting death of Brittney Lee Irving.
Photos of the crime scene presented to the jury today showed Irving's body laying face up on the dirt ground of a wooded area.
The large green plaid jacket she wore was raised slightly exposing her mid-rift. Lee indicated a gunshot wound just above her pelvic area, containing what he described as pine tree needles. He also observed how the draw strings of her pants left tanning marks.
In close up photos of the victim's head, Lee indicated either "fly eggs or maggots" in her nostril - a sign she was “dead for at least a few days.”
Red discolouration on the victim's forehead indicate lividity, Lee said, signalling “decompositional changes.”
Lee agreed with Crown lawyer Iain Currie evidence at the crime scene suggests the victim was shot and killed there. While investigators found little blood around Irving's body, Lee explained it could have drained into the ground with the melting snow. Cold temperatures back in April 2010 may also have “slowed down the rate of decomposition,” Lee said.
The crown alleges the oversized running shoes and green plaid jacket Irving wore, found soaked with blood, did not actually belong to her, but to a friend of Verma's.
In cross-examination, defence lawyer Alexander Watt suggested environmental factors at the crime scene make it difficult to determine when exactly Irving died.
The trial is expected to continue for seven weeks.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
Part one of trial coverage
Part two of trial coverage
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013