Tim Petruk/Kamloops This Week
A volatile love triangle in Salmon Arm led to the murder of a 22-year-old man at the hands of two high school students that was only solved when police launched a Mr. Big undercover operation nearly four years later, jurors have been told.
A 24-year-old Salmon Arm man is standing trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops, charged with first-degree murder in connection to the Nov. 21, 2008, death of Tyler Myers. A 25-year-old woman is also charged, but a date for her trial has not yet been set.
(Because both accused were under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged incident, neither can be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The Salmon Arm Observer will refer to them as Young Male, or Y.M., and Young Female, or Y.F.)
On Monday, a 12-person jury heard an opening statement from Crown prosecutor Bill Hilderman.
He said Myers and Y.M. both believed they were in a relationship with Y.F. and both were aware of the other’s involvement with her.
“Understandably, this caused friction between the two men,” Hilderman said.
“There was an incident where [Y.M.] got into an altercation with Mr. Myers where he pushed him. . . . Mr. Myers said he would kill him.”
Hilderman said Y.M. and Y.F. then hatched a plan to borrow a gun from a friend and lure Myers to an empty schoolyard near a forested area. Y.F. planned to have Myers stand in a lit location of the schoolyard, jurors were told, and leave him momentarily under the guise of going to the bathroom.
“[Y.M.] was hiding in the woods where it was dark,” Hilderman said.
“When he saw him in the clear, he shot him once. Mr. Myers staggered and went a few steps then fell down.
“[Y.M.] then shot him in the back, and [Y.F.] said to shoot him in the head, so he shot him in the head. Mr. Myers was clearly dead after that.”
Y.M. was interviewed by police two days later and denied the murder. The investigation slowed after that, Hilderman said, but police launched a Mr. Big undercover operation in June 2012 targeting Y.F.
Undercover Mounties posing as gangsters convinced Y.F. they could help her clear up any suspicion if she told them everything she knew about the murder, jurors were told.
“They told her they had a guy who was dying of cancer and he would take the fall for it,” Hilderman said. “But they also needed to hear [Y.M.’s] side of the event.”
Hilderman said Y.M. later told police he felt “stupid” for having been manipulated by Y.F.
The first witness called by the Crown was the victim’s mother, Barbara Myers.
She said she dropped her son off the night of the murder at a Salmon Arm school.
“He said he was meeting [Y.F.] because he was in a situation where [Y.F.] had a friend who I guess viewed himself as [Y.F.’s] boyfriend,” she said.
“They were going to talk about the situation. They were going to meet and they were going to talk about this triangle.”
Barbara Myers said her son seemed “distressed” before she dropped him off.
“I told him to bring [Y.F.] back for supper,” she said.
“He said he would probably do that.”
The next day, she said, two detectives showed up at her door to say her son was dead.
Prior to the Hilderman’s opening statement, Y.M. pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. The Crown did not accept the plea and said the trial, which is expected to last about a month, will continue under the first-degree murder charge.