Jurors sequestered to reach verdict on second-degree murder or manslaughter
After 24 hours of jury deliberations, there’s still no verdict in the David Folker murder case.
David Folker, who is on trial for allegedly murdering his girlfriend in 2010, was back in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s Thursday to hear the judge instruct the jury. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
The eight women and four men were sequestered just after lunch Thursday. As of lunchtime today, there’s been no word.
Jurors spent the morning reviewing trial evidence, including exhibits and testimony, which they requested Thursday afternoon.
Folker is charged with second-degree murder in the July 18, 2010, death of 32-year-old Ann Marie Shirran, his girlfriend and the mother of their young son. He’s also charged with interfering with her remains.
Jurors are debating their decision on second-degree murder or manslaughter.
Folker has admitted responsibility for Shirran’s death. He said she died as a result of a physical altercation between them. However, he claims he didn’t intend to kill her. He’s also admitted to the second charge by disposing of her body in the woods in Cappahayden.
The Crown says Folker intended to kill Shirran because she had planned to take full custody of their son after their split. The defence argued it wasn’t Folker’s intension that she die, so he is guilty of manslaughter. A guilty verdict on the interfering with human remains charge is expected.
In their deliberations, the jury must consider a month’s worth of evidence and testimony from the trial at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.
The Telegram has followed the case from start to finish and will keep readers posted.
No verdict after Day 1 of jury deliberations in Folker trial
The first day of jury deliberations didn’t result in a verdict in the trial of suspected murderer David Folker.
But jurors did inquire about certain evidence presented at the trial.
At around 4:30 p.m., three hours after they were sequestered, the judge and lawyers were informed that the eight women and four men had a question for the judge.
When court was called to order about 20 minutes later at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s, it was revealed that the jury requested to view some exhibits and review certain testimony.
Since equipment was required to do that, Justice Wayne Dymond opted to have it arranged for the morning.
Shortly after the judge stepped off the bench, jurors decided to adjourn their deliberations for the day. They will be back this morning to review the evidence.
Earlier in the day, they sat through three hours of instructions from the judge.
Dymond spent the morning directing them on how to apply the law and assess the evidence in the month-long trial.
Jurors already know Folker is guilty. Just what charge he’s guilty of is what they have to decide.
Folker, who will soon turn 43, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Ann Marie Shirran on July 18, 2010 and interfering with a dead body.
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Folker’s lawyers have already told the jury he’s guilty of manslaughter. He’s admitted that Shirran died as a result of a physical altercation between them. He said he grabbed her by the throat and threw her, but didn’t mean to kill her.
Folker has also admitted he moved Shirran’s body after she died, meaning he’s conceded guilt on that charge. For more than three years, Folker lied and denied he had anything to do with it, but made the admission on the second day of the trial.
As a result, the only decision the jury must make is whether Folker intended to kill Shirran or if he knew his actions would lead to her death.
If they decide he did, he should be found guilty of second-degree murder, Dymond said. If not, he added, jurors must find him guilty of manslaughter.
Dymond told them to look at all the evidence to help them determine that and to “use your good, common sense.”
He said to consider all the evidence leading up to the offence, including the testimony of the witnesses. He told jurors it’s up to them how much weight they give to that evidence, including that of medical experts.
Dr. Simon Avis told the court it was his opinion that after examining Shirran’s skeletal remains, she died from blunt force to the head. He said she had two separate fractures to the densest part of her skull. He said a simple fall would not cause such injuries, but couldn’t say exactly how much force would be needed.
The defence said one fracture was caused by the initial fall from the altercation. They suggested the second was caused when Folker dropped Shirran on the pavement as he carried her out to the SUV after she died.
Dymond noted that having motive is not necessary in proving second-degree murder.
In assessing the evidence, the jury was instructed not to use Folker’s post-offence conduct — or what he did after Shirran died — to prove he intended to murder her.
“What he did after should be given no weight,” Dymond said.
“People do things for different reasons. The fact that he lied may have been to cover up the fact he killed Ms. Shirran, not that he intended to kill her.”
However, Dymond pointed out that Folker’s lies can certainly go towards assessing his credibility.
Overall, the judge reminded the jury that the onus is on the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Folker intended to kill Shirran.
“David Folker does not have to prove anything,” he said.