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Deliberations resume in Canada pig farmer trial

Image: File photo of accused Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton
Accused Canadian serial killer Robert "Willie" Pickton is shown in an undated television image. He has been been charged with killing 26 women, most of them prostitutes and drug addicts from a seedy Vancouver neighborhood.Ho / Reuters
/ Source: The Associated Press

The jury in the case of a pig farmer accused of being Canada's worst serial killer resumed deliberations late Thursday after the judge clarified a portion of his instructions.

Deliberations were suspended for about two hours following a question passed on to the judge from the jury, which focused on the possible roles of other people in the crime.

Robert “Willie” Pickton went on trial in January on the first six of 26 first-degree murder charges for the deaths of women, most of them prostitutes and drug addicts from a seedy Vancouver neighborhood.

The defense suggested during the trial that others who visited the farm might have committed the murders.

Pickton, 58, is accused of murdering Mona Wilson, Sereena Abotsway, Marnie Frey, Brenda Wolfe, Andrea Joesbury and Georgina Papin. There was evidence that some of the victims were shot.

The defense has acknowledged that their remains were found on Pickton's farm outside Vancouver but denies he was responsible for their deaths.

The jury began deliberating last Friday night.

Officer: 'He wanted to make it an even 50'
In his instructions, Williams told them to go over much of the evidence, including a review of the transcripts of a videotape in which Pickton is heard telling an undercover police officer that he had planned to kill one more woman before stopping at 50, taking a break and then killing 25 more women.

"I was going to do one more; make it an even 50," Pickton told the officer, who had been planted in the accused killer's cell and gained his trust.

Williams also told the jury to review police interrogation tapes in which Pickton tells an officer that the officer is making him out to be "more of a mass murderer than I am."

Last Thursday, Georgina Papin's three sisters cried and clutched each other's hands in court while the judge reviewed the testimony of witness Lynn Ellingson, who said she walked in on a blood-covered Pickton as Papin's body dangled from a chain in the farm's slaughterhouse.

Ellingson admitted she was high on crack cocaine at the time.

The judge also reviewed testimony of prosecution witness Andrew Bellwood, who said Pickton told him how he strangled his alleged victims and fed their remains to his pigs.

Defense tries to discredit testimony
During its closing arguments, the defense tried to discredit the testimony of Bellwood and Ellingson. The defense emphasized the witnesses' drug addictions and criminal backgrounds as reasons for the jury to question their testimony.

Williams told the jury to be careful in accepting their testimony.

The defense also argued that Pickton has limited intelligence and was easily duped into making incriminating statements during police interrogations.

Pickton has been charged in the slayings of 26 women, but almost 40 others are on a police list of missing women. The investigation into their disappearances is ongoing.

Prosecutors said Pickton will be tried for the 20 other murder charges later, but no date has been set.

Health officials once issued a tainted meat advisory to neighbors who might have bought pork from Pickton's farm, concerned the meat might have contained human remains.