June 15th, 2024

B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton dead after prison assault in Quebec

By The Canadian Press on May 31, 2024.

Serial killer Robert Pickton has died after he was assaulted in prison earlier this month, Quebec Provincial Police say. Pickton appears on a video link to B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, B.C., in a Wednesday, May 25, 2005, courtroom sketch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jane Wolsack

QUEBEC – Serial killer Robert Pickton died Friday, two weeks after he was assaulted in prison.

Pickton, an inmate at Port-Cartier Institution in Quebec, was 74.

Correctional Service Canada said in a statement that Pickton’s next-of-kin were notified, as well as victims who registered to be told.

Pickton was convicted in 2007 of six counts of second-degree murder but is suspected of killing dozens of women who disappeared from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

He once bragged to an undercover officer that he had killed 49 women.

“We are mindful that this offender’s case has had a devastating impact on communities in British Columbia and across the country, including Indigenous peoples, victims and their families. Our thoughts are with them,” the correctional service said.

It said an investigation was underway into the May 19 prison assault that involved another inmate.

Quebec provincial police spokesman Frédéric Deshaies said Friday afternoon that Pickton had died “in the last few hours.”

He said police were also continuing to investigate the assault and that they had a 51-year-old suspect.

Pickton had been serving a life sentence. At the time of his sentencing in December 2007, B.C. Supreme Court Justice James Williams said it was a “rare case that properly warrants the maximum (25-year) period of parole ineligibility available to the court.”

Pickton was found guilty of killing Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda Ann Wolfe, Georgina Papin and Marnie Frey.

But the remains or DNA of 33 women were found on Pickton’s pig farm in Port Coquitlam.

Papin’s sister, Cynthia Cardinal, said Pickton’s death means she can finally move on from her sister’s murder.

“This is gonna bring healing for, I won’t say all families, I’ll just say most of the families,” she said.

“Because they didn’t get their day in court, (that’s) what I’m really sad about. But I’m also feeling really happy right now,” said Cardinal.

“I’m like – wow, finally. I can actually move on and heal and I can put this behind me.”

Police began searching the Pickton farm more than 22 years ago in what would be a years-long investigation.

Vancouver police were criticized for not taking the case seriously because many of the missing were sex workers or drug users.

Pickton became eligible for day parole in February, which sparked outrage from advocates, politicians and victims’ relatives, who criticized Canada’s justice system, saying he should never be released.

– By Nono Shen in Vancouver and John Bongiorno in Montreal

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2024.

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