A memorial remains near the site of where South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo was killed in August 2019. (Tracy Holmes photo)

South Surrey homicide victim’s blood found on seized knife, shoes: DNA expert

Trial of two youth charged in August 2019 continues

The blood of South Surrey homicide victim Paul Prestbakmo was found on shoes, a jacket and a curved knife seized during the investigation of his August 2019 stabbing death.

Testifying in Surrey Provincial Court Monday (Jan. 25), DNA expert Cindy Lee – a civilian employee at the Surrey location of the RCMP National Forensics Laboratory Services – read the conclusions from six reports that she prepared regarding those and other exhibits.

Lee also confirmed that additional DNA found on some of the seized items included some that matched a sample from one of two youths accused of killing Prestbakmo.

The 45-year-old was stabbed to death in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 2019, when he stepped outside to dispose of rotting garbage and have a cigarette. He was found with fatal wounds just after 3 a.m., in a commercial parking lot on the southwest corner of 18 Avenue and 152 Street, and died at the scene.

READ MORE: Trial underway in 2019 murder of South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo

Two youths are being tried on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with his death; the pair – aged 15 and 16 at the time charges were announced – are also on trial for aggravated assault, in connection with an attack on a White Rock senior that occurred just hours before Prestbakmo was killed.

Due to their ages, a ban prevents publication of any evidence that could identify the accused.

The court was told at the outset of trial that Prestbakmo was stabbed 42 times on the morning in question.

Multiple young witnesses have taken the stand since it began, testifying as to the actions, conversations and moods of the accused in the hours and days before and after the killing.

The court heard last week that one of the accused claimed the killing took place because a gang hit had been put on Prestbakmo.

READ MORE: Teen charged in South Surrey mechanic’s death claimed it was result of a gang hit, court hears

The same witness also confirmed that that same accused was known to frequently lie.

Monday, defense counsel Michael Klein questioned Lee on the sensitivity of the DNA testing, which the expert said required just “a very small amount” for analysis.

“It’s a very sensitive test,” she said.

In one sample, just 61.5 nanograms of DNA was analyzed – an amount Lee confirmed isn’t visible to the human eye.

The trial is scheduled to continue through to Feb. 4, followed by a break before resuming for two weeks in March.

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