Closing arguments underway in Travis Vader murder trial

Click to play video: 'Travis Vader closing arguments' Travis Vader closing arguments
WATCH ABOVE: Nearly six years after Lyle and Marie McCann disappeared, the trial for the man accused of killing them is finally coming to a close. Kendra Slugoski has more from the law courts – Jun 22, 2016

His first-degree murder trial started in March and on Wednesday, closing arguments began in the Travis Vader case.

The Crown submits Vader killed St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann shortly after they left a Real Canadian Superstore on July 3, 2010. Their bodies have never been found.

The Crown focused on cellphone calls and texts from the McCanns’ cellphone to Vader’s former girlfriend around 2 p.m. on July 3, 2010.

In its closing argument, the prosecution states: “the confrontation between the McCanns and Travis Vader would have had to have occurred between 12 p.m. and 2:14 p.m., a very narrow window.”

Days later, the McCanns’ burned out motorhome was found. On July 16, their SUV was found abandoned on a rural property.

“Given the age and strength of the surviving McCann, it is submitted that that person would have posed no threat to Mr. Vader and that he murdered the survivor to eliminate them as a witness,” Crown documents state.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: 1 in 3 trillion chance DNA was someone other than Vader: forensics expert 

Vader’s DNA was located inside the SUV, which the Crown points to as “crucial evidence.”

The Crown “submits that the DNA was deposited in those locations because Travis Vader was driving the SUV… They overwhelmingly establish that it was Travis Vader who had possession of the McCann cellphone on July 3, 2010 and that he used it to first call and then text Amber Williams.”

“Mr. Vader was a desperate fellow at the time,” prosecutor Ashley Finlayson told court on Wednesday.

“A violent event occurred and the McCanns ended up dead at the hands of Mr. Vader.”

READ MORE: ‘Why do they want me so bad?’ Texts between Vader’s phone and ex shown in court 

Vader’s lawyer, Brian Beresh, told the trial that there’s no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the McCanns are dead because their bodies have never been found and to say what happened to them is “speculation.”

In its closing argument documents, the defence said: “The prosecution’s proposed logic appears to be that disappearance equals death equals murder. Such logic must be rejected.”

“The defence submits that the Crown has failed to prove to the criminal standard that Lyle and Marie McCann are, in fact, dead.”

Story continues below advertisement

Beresh has also argued authorities focused solely on his client instead of others.

“Authorities picked the wrong villain,” he said at the start of the trial.

READ MORE: Text messages show Travis Vader used McCanns’ cellphone: Crown

The defence also argues: “no direct or forensic evidence was ever entered by the prosecution to establish whether Mr. Vader actually possessed the McCann cellphone or, if he did possess it, had exclusive possession of it.”

“Prosecution in this case exaggerates its case and that it is not truly circumstantial in nature… largely speculative and calls upon conjecture for support,” the defence stated.

READ MORE: Travis Vader’s lawyer hints at alternative suspect for murders of Lyle and Marie McCann 

During the trial, the defence suggested an alternate suspect who has since passed away: Terry McColman.

However, in its closing arguments, the Crown submits: “there is insufficient evidence before the court for Terry McColman to be considered an alternate suspect.”

READ MORE: ‘I plead not guilty to that charge’: Travis Vader at start of McCann murder trial 

During the trial, the defence called its own DNA expert who testified who cannot time stamp DNA and determine when it as deposited. Vader’s lawyer suggested he could have sneezed while standing outside the SUV.

Story continues below advertisement

In its closing arguments documents, the defence said: “The court heard extensive evidence on how easily DNA is transferred from item to item. Presumably, if Mr. Vader had killed the McCanns, remnants of their DNA would be transferred onto his clothing and other personal belongings. No DNA belonging to Lyle or Marie McCann was ever found on any of Mr. Vader’s belongings, vehicle or locations he frequented in July 2010.”

Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

A verdict is expected by the end of summer or early fall.

More to come…

Sponsored content