Travis Vader found not guilty on 9 charges unrelated to McCann deaths
EDMONTON – A man once charged in the slaying of two Alberta seniors was found not guilty Wednesday on unrelated charges and was to be released from custody for the first time in more than four years.
Travis Vader, 42, did plead guilty to a charge of failing to comply with a court order in 2010 and was sentenced to one day of time already served. His lawyer expects him to be released from custody Wednesday.
“Mr. Vader was relieved but not surprised he’s spent a lot of pre-trial detention, probably more than he should have. Frankly, even if there had been a finding of guilt he would’ve been released quite soon anyway,” said his lawyer, Nathan Whitling.
“Mr. Vader has directed me to say he is not a threat to anyone…His intention is to get his old job back [in the oil patch] and to live a very quiet life and I expect this will be the last that you all hear of Travis Vader.”
RCMP publicly named Vader a person of interest and later their only suspect in the July 2010 deaths of Lyle McCann and his wife, Marie.
The couple, both in their 70s, were last seen alive more than four years ago when they fuelled up their motorhome in their hometown of St. Albert, north of Edmonton. Their burned-out motorhome was discovered a few days later but their bodies have never been found.
Vader was initially arrested on a long list of outstanding warrants. Two years later, he was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of the McCanns.
The charges he was initially held on, which included passing off a forged employment letter in court, were later dropped. The murder charges were also stayed earlier this year.
His lawyer says he would be surprised if the Crown brought those charges forward again.
On Wednesday, Justice Andrea Moen ruled in the latest case that although Vader may be an “unsavoury character,” the Crown’s witnesses were unreliable and the defence raised reasonable doubt on
She acquitted Vader on all nine offences, including drug trafficking, theft and weapons charges.
It was Vader’s second trial on the charges. He was originally convicted in 2012, but before he was sentenced it was discovered that some evidence had not been properly disclosed to the defence.
The judge in that case cited the RCMP as “negligent” and ordered a new trial.
Earlier this year, Vader filed lawsuits against prosecutors and the RCMP claiming malicious prosecution. He alleges he was kept in custody on trumped-up charges until he could be charged with murdering the McCanns, as well as that he was mistreated by staff in the Edmonton Remand Centre.
The St. Albert couple’s son, Bret McCann, issued the following statement to Global Edmonton Wednesday afternoon:
“Our parents went missing in July 2010, and the past four years have been extremely difficult for us.
However, during that time we have come to realize that Mom and Dad raised us to be resilient, strong, patient and loving people.
This was their gift to us and it has served us well throughout this ordeal, and will continue to do so until the investigation into their deaths is resolved.
That is the legacy of our parents, Marie and Lyle McCann.”
© 2014 Shaw Media