On Sunday night, one long-awaited event dominated Canadian news networks: the official verdict of the Robert Pickton trial. Once the jury had spoken, Pickton joined the likes of one of the country's most prolific serial killers as he was found guilty on all 6 counts of second-degree murder. While many were initially dismayed by the seemingly lesser charges of homicide, lead Crown councel, Michael Petrie, reassured the media that the only difference between a first-degree and second-degree charge was in the culprit's parole eligibility. Pickton's second-degree sentencing means that he would receive life in prison while being eligible for parole after 10 years. A first-degree charge would also result in life imprisonment, however the accused would only be eligible for parole after 25 years behind bars. But as Pickton has 6 counts of murder under his belt, his chances for parole seem pretty dire. He will be sentenced on Tuesday and still faces 20 additional counts of murder in the first-degree.
Having spent nearly 7 years on the streets, Andrea was in the process of kicking her long-time heroin addiction with the help of Vancouver's methadone program. In her last phone conversation with her grandfather, the young woman expressed excitement in turning her life around and eventually moving back to the Island.
Sadly, Andrea did not have the chance to follow through on her dreams. Alarm bells started to go off as she missed her daily methadone dose at a local clinic. On June 8, 2001, Andrea was reported missing.
Sereena Abotsway had a heart of gold and a hearty laugh to match. She had been raised by her foster parents until she was 17, but Sereena had started to reflect serious behaviourial issues associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She was then moved into a group home for troubled teens. It was there that Sereena was introduced to drugs and soon found herself on the streets of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, using sex to support her drug habit.
Sereena became one of these tragic statistics once she disappeared in August 2001
(photo courtesy of Vancouver 24 Hours)
(photo courtesy of missingpeople.net)