EDMONTON – Travis Vader’s murder trial continued Friday as the court heard testimony from the accused’s acquaintance, William Nikolyuk, whom the Crown accused of delivering testimony inconsistent with previous interviews given to the RCMP.
After a series of pointed questions by the Crown about Nikolyuk’s contact with Vader, the Crown asked Justice Denny Thomas for permission to cross-examine its own witness, citing inconsistencies between his answers to Friday’s questions and those given to RCMP in an August 2010 interview.
Justice Thomas agreed to the request.
Nikolyuk was asked if he ever gave groceries to Vader, saw him in the bushes near his farm, saw him get into a white Ford truck, or if Vader ever told him he had stolen a vehicle.
To each question, Nikolyuk replied “no.”
Nikolyuk testified he met Vader as a teen and that the two grew up in the same area.
He told court Vader eventually began dating his friend Amber Williams and that he drove Vader to her home in Mayerthorpe, as well as to Wal-Mart to pick up car parts.
Nikolyuk said Vader was working as an oil field consultant and that when he stopped working he used “his savings” to support himself.
He also told the court he had gambling and drug issues in 2010 and that in February of that year, he started using crystal meth three to four times a week.
Nikolyuk testified Vader’s girlfriend did meth but that he never saw Vader do drugs.
“I’ve never done it with him, but he was around the same friends as mine,” Nikolyuk said.
When asked if he ever saw Vader do meth Nikolyuk replied, “Not right out in the open, no.”
Nikolyuk was in jail from May 30 to July 17, 2010. Two days after Nikolyuk was released, Vader was arrested in connection with the disappearance of a St. Albert couple.
Nikolyuk testified that he did not see Vader in the two days before his arrest.
Vader, 44, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann.
The McCanns, who were in their 70s when they disappeared, were last seen at a gas station near Edmonton on July 3, 2010.
Two days later, their motorhome was found on fire about 200 kilometres west of the city. Their bodies were never found.
Nikolyuk is scheduled to be back in court on Wednesday.
With files from Kendra Slugoski.