Laboucan convicted in death of local woman
Published Monday, September 26, 2011 6:49PM MDT
More than six years after the body of Ellie May Meyer was found in a Strathcona County farmer's field, a judge has found an Edmonton man guilty of first-degree murder in the case.
The decision came down late Monday morning, just 45 minutes after Joseph Laboucan's trial began. The proceeding was expected to last five to six weeks.
"This right now is still very surreal, it all happened so fast," said Evanelina Meyer, the victim's mother, of learning the ruling.
Laboucan, who is already serving a life sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Nina Courtepatte, pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder in the death of the sex trade worker back in April 2005. Still, his lawyers did not present any evidence or challenge any Crown exhibits.
Submitted for consideration was testimony from the preliminary hearing, where an eyewitness said she saw Laboucan chasing and repeatedly swinging something at Meyer's head.
Multiple people also swore the now 26-year-old showed off a severed pinky finger, which the accused told them was a souvenir from one of his victims. DNA later confirmed the body part belonged to the 33-year-old street worker.
In delivering his decision, the judge said he believed the testimony of one youth who said Laboucan got an adrenaline rush from killing Meyer, and wanted to do it again.
RCMP believe just days after Laboucan killed the Edmonton woman and dumped her body in a field, he led Courtepatte to a golf course just outside the city, and committed the second murder.
The Crown says through Courtepatte's case, they were able to gather key DNA evidence that tied the accused to Meyer's death.
"Without that conviction the DNA sample may never have gone into the data bank and the police may never have gotten that crucial link that would've taken it forward," said prosecutor Douglas Taylor.
Nina's mother, Peacha Atkinson, was at the law courts on Monday, and said she was glad her daughter's case helped lead to a second conviction, and spared the Meyer family the pain of a lengthy trial.
"If it wasn't for [Nina], then he would never have been caught, it would be an unsolved murder to this day," she said.
Michael Briscoe, Laboucan's accomplice, will be tried separately for Meyer's death and is awaiting retrial for his part in the slaying of the teenager.
When asked how she remembers her daughter, Evanelina Meyer responded, "Ellie? She was a very warmhearted wonderful person."
With Files from David Ewasuk