Pickton unlikely to face second trial

Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:59pm EST
 
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canadian serial killer Robert "Willie" Pickton does not need to be tried on his remaining 20 murder charges if last year's conviction for six murders is upheld, British Columbia's attorney general said on Tuesday.

Victims' relatives have demanded the second trial proceed, but getting more convictions will not increase the punishment for Pickton, who was sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole for 25 years, Wally Oppal said.

"It would not be in the public interest to proceed further against someone who is already serving six life terms ... nothing further would be gained," Oppal told reporters, admitting it was a difficult decision.

Oppal said prosecutors will ask for the second trial if Pickton's initial conviction is overturned by an appeals court.

Pickton, 58, was initially to face all 26 murder charges in a single trial, but the court divided the case in two, to make it easier on jurors.

The victims, all drug addicted sex trade workers, were lured to Pickton's pig farm in the Vancouver suburb of Port Coquitlam where they were killed and their bodies chopped up in the farm's slaughterhouse.

Both the defense and prosecution have appealed last year's verdict. The prosecution appeal challenges rulings it said led the jury to convict Pickton of second degree murder rather than first degree murder.

Pickton's attorneys are expected to ask a judge next week to order the second trial to move forward without waiting for an appeal decision on the first trial.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>The car carrying convicted murderer Robert Pickton arrives at the court house in New Westminster, British Columbia December 11, 2007. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>