Tim Petruk/Kamloops This Week
A man standing trial for first-degree murder in connection to the shooting death of a romantic rival while a Grade 12 student in 2008 admitted the slaying to an undercover cop four years later in the hopes it would clear him of any suspicion.
In B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops yesterday, jurors listened to audio recordings and watched video of the accused and his ex-girlfriend having conversations with undercover Mounties posing as gangsters.
Tyler Myers was killed in the schoolyard of Bastion elementary in Salmon Arm on Nov. 21, 2008. He was shot three times — twice in the back and once in the back of the head.
The man standing trial was 16 at the time of Myers’ death and is now 24. He cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
His ex-girlfriend, also charged with first-degree murder, was 17 at the time and is now 25.
She also cannot be named and is slated to stand trial in November.
According to the Crown, the two accused lured Myers, 22, to the schoolyard with the plan to kill him.
Crown prosecutor Bill Hilderman said the male accused was hiding in a wooden area and fired a bullet into Myers’ back when he had a clear shot. Court heard he then emerged from the wooded area and fired two more shots at the direction of Myers. In court, the incident has been described as a love triangle turned deadly.
Both accused were interviewed by police in the days following the murder. They denied any involvement, but became suspects three weeks later after investigators obtained authorization to intercept their text messages.
Court heard police resources were drained and the investigation slowed.
Late in 2011, police decided to launch a Mr. Big undercover operation in an attempt to gain confessions.
The investigation targeted the female accused and began in the summer of 2012.
In October 2012, court heard, the undercover Mounties took the female accused on a work trip to Saskatchewan.
During a stop for coffee in the town of Ceylan, jurors were told, one of the undercover officers thanked the female accused for her help in establishing an alibi for a fictitious murder he claimed to have committed.
Testifying in court yesterday, the corporal said she then told him she had committed a murder of her own. He said he told her the criminal organization could clear her of suspicion.
If the fake gang had all the details, the corporal said, it could pin the murder on a terminally ill fall guy who was desperate for money to send his daughter to college.
The fall guy, who the female accused met in a Regina hospital, was actually another undercover officer.
In court yesterday, jurors listened to recordings of conversations between both accused and two undercover Mounties posing as gangsters.
The recordings were made on Oct. 29, 2012. That day, court heard, the female accused and two undercover Mounties drove to the male accused’s house in Salmon Arm.
“It was for [the female accused] to understand the seriousness of what we were doing, and therefore it was for her to get as much detail from [the male accused] as possible for the fall guy,” said the corporal, whose name is protected by a court-ordered publication ban.
In a vehicle outside the male accused’s house, the female accused pleaded with him to come clean.
“I’ve taken shit to the grave,” she told him.
“I’ve never told anyone about it. Just working with these guys, there’s stuff that came up and that I saw happen. It’s fine.
“Shit happened and it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. They’re going to clear it up.
“Things that I’ve seen with these guys, they’re not cops.”
The accused male at first refused to tell his story, but the undercover corporal pressured him and told him police were re-visiting the murder.
“I know that [the female accused] and you got into a situation with this Tyler dude and Tyler got dropped,” he said in the recording.
“All you have to do is look at the newspaper from back then and know Tyler got dropped. The guy that I work for, he looked into a few things and f—in’ heat’s coming.
“When f—in’ heat comes, you’re going to f—in’ be angry at yourself. You’re going to be pissed off at yourself.”
After much discussion, the accused male admitted to killing Myers. He said he shot him three or four times with a rifle he had borrowed from a friend.
The accused male told the corporal that after the murder, they returned the firearm to their friend and then “went for Slurpees.”
Both accused were arrested in December 2012.
The trial, which started on Monday, is expected to last about a month.