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A pig farmer was yesterday found guilty of murdering six prostitutes on his property outside Vancouver in Canada's worst serial murder case. Robert 'Willie' Pickton, 58, was convicted of second degree murder in the deaths of the women whose butchered remains he fed to his pigs rather than the first degree murder charge he originally faced. He will still receive a life sentence but the lesser verdict makes it easier for him to get parole after 10 years.
He also faces additional murder charges in relation to the deaths of 20 other women, mainly prostitutes and drug addict from a run-down area of Vancouver. No date for this trial has been set. While the defence acknowledged that the remains of the six women - Mona Wilson, Sereena Abotsway, Marnie Frey, Brenda Wolfe, Andrea Joesbury and Georgina Papin - were found on Pickton's farm, it denied he was responsible for the deaths and said police ignored other suspects.
Pig farmer 'wanted more victims'. Pig farmer 'hung dead prostitute from a chain'. Pig farmer prosecutor rejects 'bizarre theory'. As the verdict was announced, Pickton, who sat out the trial behind bulletproof glass, listened with his head bowed.
Two women jurors on the panel of seven men and five women, who deliberated for 10 days, wiped tears from their eye. Some relatives of the victims protested the second degree murder verdict, which means the jury rejected prosecution claims the deaths were planned. Family members and friends sobbed as the verdicts were read and afterwards gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the court. During the month trial, jurors heard how Pickton lured the women to his farm with money and drugs, killed them, and cut up the bodies and disposed of the remains by feeding them to his pigs and taking them to a rendering plant.
Remains found on the farm included severed skulls and feet. A woman who lived briefly in Pickton's trailer testified she saw him cutting up a body of one of his victims in the middle of the night. Jurors also heard a taped conversation in which Pickton told an undercover officer placed in his jail cell that he had killed 49 women and planned to "make it an even 50". The victims were among nearly 70 women who disappeared from the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of the Pacific coast city over a year period.