WARNING: This story contains graphic, violent content. Discretion is advised.
There was an emotional outburst in the triple-murder trial of Derek Saretzky just before the jury was sent to deliberate by one of two jurors who was randomly dismissed.
According to Canadian law, only 12 jurors can deliberate and decide a criminal case.
Following nearly two hours of instructions from Queen’s Bench Justice William Tilleman, the numbers of the 14 jurors were put into a box, and two were drawn and dismissed.
Saretzky, 24, is charged with first-degree murder in the September 2015 deaths of Hailey and her father Terry Blanchette, 27, in the southern Alberta community of Blairmore. He is also accused of killing 69-year-old Hanne Meketech, who was found dead five days earlier in her mobile home in nearby Coleman, Alta.
Saretzky has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The female juror who’d been dismissed stopped beside the judge’s bench as she left the courtroom.
She was visibly distraught and said she felt compelled to tell Tilleman, “how wrong this is to subject people to this…and not let them have a final say.”
“It’s not right to treat people this way,” she said angrily, stating she wanted to be able to be a part of the final process.
The final 12 jurors were given the go-ahead to begin deliberating just before 1 p.m. local time Wednesday afternoon.
Tilleman began his final instructions by telling jurors they do not need to consider Saretzky’s mental fitness. He told them that issue has been addressed by himself, the Crown and defence.
“You are the judges of facts,” he continued.
“Your job is to determine…if Mr. Saretzky is guilty.”
He went on to remind the jury of the presumption of innocence.
“There’s no burden on Mr. Saretzky to prove anything,” Tilleman said, adding if jurors feel he is guilty of a charge, it must be beyond a reasonable doubt.
Tilleman went through the list of the witnesses who provided evidence during the trial.
He said it will be up to them to decide how much weight should be put on any witness’ evidence.
“Use your everyday common sense,” Tilleman said.
The judge explained the necessary elements jurors must find to reach each possible verdict.
He said in each of the three murders, the possible verdicts are guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder, or acquit.
If the jury finds Saretzky dismembered, cannibalized and/or burned Hailey, he could be found guilty of causing an indignity to her body.
Any decisions they make need to be unanimous.