The trial of Jason Steadman, the man accused of first-degree murder in the May 2015 killing of 42-year-old Dwayne Demkiw, began in Edmonton on Monday morning.
In her opening address to the jury, Crown prosecutor Chantelle Washenfelder told the court that the deceased had a relationship with a woman named Angel Chalifoux — the same woman Steadman had broken up with shortly before Demkiw was killed.
Demkiw was last seen alive shortly after 4 a.m. on May 31, 2015, when he finished a shift as a limo driver. Investigators found his burning car several hours later in a Calgary parkade and located his damaged cellphone on Anthony Henday Drive but could not find Demkiw himself.
Nearly a year later, his remains were discovered scattered in a field near Innisfail.
On Monday, the Crown told court that the interior of Demkiw’s car was covered in his blood.
After Demkiw’s death, Washenfelder told the court that Steadman disappeared. Washenfelder said Steadman was “giving away his tools, closing his business, abandoning his truck and leaving the life he built in Alberta.”
The Crown also told the court that Steadman was living his life in Edmonton under another identity as Robert Aubrey-Maxwell.
In 2012, the real Robert Aubrey-Maxwell lived on the streets in Vancouver, according to the Crown. Aubrey-Maxwell’s family and friends testified that he sometimes stayed in a shelter or slept on park benches.
Court heard that Aubrey-Maxwell’s grandmother reported him missing in the fall of 2012, about the same time that other evidence showed a Robert Aubrey-Maxwell who looks like the accused checked in at a Vancouver Salvation Army.
The Crown said forms filed with the Salvation Army show that Aubrey-Maxwell was trying to get his ID back, which he claimed had recently been stolen. He also wanted to move to Alberta for work, according to the Crown.
Retired Vancouver police Det. Greg Ralla testified that he had investigated the Robert Aubrey-Maxwell missing person file.
He told court that he learned Robert Aubrey-Maxwell had cashed a cheque from an Edmonton glass company at a Money Mart.
Ralla said he called the company and asked if Aubrey-Maxwell worked there. The owner said he did and gave Ralla his employee’s numbers.
The detective also testified that he spoke with the man who said he was Aubrey-Maxwell and that the man told him he didn’t want anything to do with his family.
More witnesses are expected to testify on Tuesday, and the trial is anticipated to last seven weeks.
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