It’s been more than three years since Ann Marie Shirran’s body was found by campers in a wooded area near Cappahayden.
David Folker. — Telegram file photo
In three weeks, the man suspected of murdering her will go to trial.
David Folker — the father of Shirran’s child — will face judge and jury in an eight-week trial beginning Oct. 7 at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s.
The 42-year-old is one of nine people — six in the St. John’s metro area — facing murder charges across the province. It is believed to be a record number.
Folker’s will be the second murder trial in St. John’s in the last year.
In February, a jury found Steven Neville guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder after an Oct. 9, 2010, stabbing in Paradise, in which Doug Flynn was killed and Ryan Dwyer was injured.
On March 20, Neville was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility of parole for 12 years.
Folker faces charges of second-degree murder and improperly or indecently interfering with or performing an indignity to a human body.
Shirran was Folker’s girlfriend.
The 32-year-old woman disappeared July 18, 2010, and was reportedly last seen at the Kilbride home she shared with Folker and their young son.
Folker reported her missing.
An extensive search was conducted, but it wasn’t until Sept. 2, 2010 that Shirran’s body was found on the Southern Shore. Out of respect for the family, police would not comment on the condition of the remains.
Folker was arrested less than 24 hours after the police revealed it was Shirran’s body.
He was granted bail in December 2010, with the condition that he live with his mother in Nova Scotia.
Since then, Folker has only returned to this province to attend court and meet with his lawyers. He was also here for most of his preliminary hearing in 2011.
The trial was originally set to begin in February 2012, but had to be rescheduled when Folker’s lawyer, Bob Simmonds, opted to step down as his counsel due to scheduling and financial reasons. It had previously been delayed until that time due to the busy court schedule.
He is now represented by Legal Aid lawyers Jason Edwards and Scott Hurley.
Prosecutors Iain Hollett and Lloyd Strickland are handling the case for the Crown.
“We expect to call over 50 witnesses,” Strickland told The Telegram Friday. “That’s including witnesses with varying expertise in forensics sciences.”
Jury selection is scheduled for Oct. 2. Justice Wayne Dymond will hear the case.
Here are updates on the other murder cases:
Charge: First-degree murder, using a firearm to commit a crime and having an unlicensed weapon
(a 9-mm handgun).
Date of offence: Oct. 1, 2011
Victim: Triffie Wadman, Pardy’s former girlfriend, of Freshwater, Placentia Bay, who lived in St. John’s.
Wadman was shot on Boggy Hall Place, off Forbes Street in the Topsail Road area of St. John’s.
Pardy was taken into custody following a four-hour standoff with police after the shooting. He’s been in custody ever since, having been denied bail.
Lawyers: Bob Buckingham (to argue an application for Pardy); Iain Tennant and Vikas Khaladkar (Crown)
Status: A hearing to argue whether or not the provincial government will pay his legal fees (at a private lawyer’s rate) has been set for Oct. 1. Bob Buckingham, who is arguing the issue, will represent him if the application is successful.
Background: The trial was originally set to begin Nov. 12, 2012, but the day before, it was called off and jury members were dismissed when Pardy fired his lawyer, Jeff Brace.
The case has been held up since then due to Pardy’s issues with lawyers. The Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission has already agreed to fund a lawyer — either private counsel at Legal Aid rates, or a Legal Aid staff lawyer — for Pardy. But he has insisted on having a private lawyer paid for by the attorney general.
and LYNDON BUTLER
Charge: Jointly charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder. Pynn and Butler also face charges of attempted robbery, possessing a handgun, assault with a weapon and possessing a weapon while prohibited. Pynn also faces counts of pointing a firearm, breaching probation and breaching conditions of two undertakings.
Date of offence: July 9, 2011
Victim: Nick Winsor was shot and killed at a house on Portugal Cove Road in the capital city.
Lawyers: Mark Gruchy (for Pynn) and Jeff Brace (for Butler); David Bright (Crown)
Status: Both Pynn and Butler were committed to stand trial following a preliminary inquiry in August 2012.
An eight-week trial is tentatively scheduled to begin on Sept. 9, 2014. Jury selection is expected to be held that day. However, lawyers are still waiting for the outcome of a hearing that involves a third-party search warrant and evidence.
Pynn is in jail, having been denied bail on July 5. Butler was released from custody following a bail review last year.
Charge: Second-degree murder
Date of offence: July 1, 2005
Victim: Richard Brace
The 29-year-old from Green’s Harbour was found badly beaten at a house on Water Street in Carbonear July 1, 2005. He was declared brain dead and died of a hemorrhage three days later.
Lawyers: Bob Buckingham (defence); Vikas Khaladkar (Crown)
Status: Four-week trial set to begin March 4, 2014
Background: Ryan had been found guilty after he represented himself at his trial in May 2007. The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal overturned that conviction last year and ordered a new trial. Ryan, who had been incarcerated since 2005, was granted bail in March 2012 after the Appeal Court decision.
Charge: Second-degree murder
Date of offence: March 13, 2013
Victim: Joey Whalen
The 47-year-old was beaten to death on Tessier Place, St. John’s. He died in hospital two days after the incident. Police don’t believe it was a random act of violence.
Lawyers: Randy Piercey (defence); Sheldon Steeves and Natalie Payne (Crown)
Status: Five-day preliminary inquiry set to begin Nov. 4
Background: Green was denied bail on June 13. Since being in custody, he’s also been charged with conspiring to escape from the Waterford Hospital.
and WANDA ASH
Charge: First-degree murder
Date of offence: April 14, 2013
Victim: Jason Skinner
The Harbour Round man was found in critical condition in a Grand Falls-Windsor residence on 18th Avenue which is operated by a local homelessness network. He later died in hospital.
Skinner’s family said he had been accepted into a rehab facility and was staying in Grand Falls-Windsor while waiting to enter rehab when he was murdered.
Lawyers: Bob Buckingham (for Pike), Arnold Hussey (for Ash).
Status: When Pike appeared in court last month, Buckingham indicated he would not submit a bail application. He told The Telegram Friday he has filed an application to withdraw as solicitor of record. It will be brought forward at Pike’s next court appearance Sept. 18.
Buckingham said that like Trevor Pardy, Pike has filed an application to have the Attorney General pay legal fees. A date hasn’t been set yet to argue the hearing. Buckingham said Pike will argue the application herself, but he will agree to represent her if the application is successful.
Ash is scheduled to appear on Sept. 12 for a bail hearing.
Charge: First-degree murder, as well as sexual assault, public mischief and breach of recognizance
Date of offence: June 14, 2013
Victim: Bernice Rich
The 21-year-old’s body was found in a wooded area in Sheshatshiu.
Lawyers: Derek Hogan (defence); John Noseworthy (Crown)
Status: Two-day preliminary inquiry set for Dec. 16-17 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay provincial court.
The police investigation is ongoing.
Background: During one of his recent court appearances, Milley was ordered to have no contact with a list of 10 people, including one of his siblings.