Appearing in court Monday, Don Bulmer said that sometime between July 10, 2010 and July 12, 2010, Vader called him and asked to pick him up in Lodgepole because his vehicle had broken down.
Bulmer said he drove to the hamlet southwest of Edmonton and picked up Vader, then the two of them drove to the broken down truck near a rural gas plant.
Bulmer said the truck Vader had been driving looked fine, but was told it didn’t run. He helped Vader haul out a flat screen TV, bed, DVD players and tools. He said Vader then told him to nudge the truck down a hill with his vehicle.
After it rolled down the hill, Bulmer said Vader “lit it on fire,” and the truck was “engulfed in flames.”
Global News spoke to Bulmer just hours before Vader’s early-morning arrest on his property on July 19, 2010.
On Sunday, July 18, 2010 reporter Jennifer Ivanov went to his home in MacKay, Alta., which is about 145 kilometres west of Edmonton on Highway 16. From his front porch, Bulmer said, “everybody has their moments, but I know what he’s like. He didn’t do any of this.”
Bulmer then said:
“I haven’t seen him for a while… I talked to him on the phone a couple of times, that’s it. Oh, a week ago there.”
Bulmer said his friend was on the run and wanted by police.
“He was working a bit, but then he had a court date and he didn’t go and they issued a warrant arrest,” he said. Bulmer said Vader was at his home but he told him “you gotta leave because I ain’t harboring a fugitive.”
Bulmer testified Vader was living at his home but he asked him to leave in June. Bulmer said Vader was sleeping at a camp in the bush and would come to him home every week to shower.
He told the court on either July 5 or 6, 2010 Vader parked in his driveway, but testified he didn’t get a good look at the vehicle his friend was driving.
“I never looked at what he was driving because I didn’t want to know,” said Bulmer. “Probably because it was stolen.”
Court also heard about a number of text messages sent from Bulmer’s phone, many to Vader’s ex-girlfriend Amber Williams.
“I have to turn myself in soon,” read one. Another signed off, “it’s me t.”
Bulmer said it wasn’t him who sent those texts.
Bulmer, who said he had known Vader for more than 15 years said he never saw Vader sign his name with the initial “T.”
During cross examination, Bulmer told the court his friend Terry McColeman, who was living at his home in July 2010, often signed off with “T.” He said McColeman didn’t have his own cellphone and sometimes used his.
Defense lawyer Brian Beresh questioned Bulmer about McColeman and if he had developed a possible relationship with Amber Williams who was also living in the same house.
Bulmer, who was often at work during the day, said he didn’t know, but he did know McColeman wasn’t working and he was “broke.”
Bulmer said when he talked to Vader about the McCann disappearance he was “quite adamant” he had nothing to do with it.
In July 2010 Bulmer said he had done meth with Vader, and that he brought guns to his home.
Bulmer said a rifle was found inside his house as well as outside leaning against a tree in his backyard.
“I told him to get it off my property.”
Vader is on trial for two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann.
The McCanns, who were in their late 70s, were last seen fuelling up their motorhome in their hometown near Edmonton on July 3, 2010. The motorhome was found on fire about 200 kilometres west of the city two days later. Their bodies have yet to be found.
Vader has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The trial was originally scheduled to last six weeks, but is now in its ninth week.