Derek Descoteau was killed in Chemainus in 2016. (submitted)

Sight of murder weapon disturbing for family in trial of Chemainus man

Family members wept and a sheriff provided tissues

Family members wept and a sheriff provided tissues for one member of the gallery as a third day of testimony in the murder trial of Colin John wrapped up Wednesday.

It was the sight of a menacing looking buck knife produced by Cpl. Kiel Pharis, the RCMP officer in charge of evidence at the trial of the man accused of killing Derek Descoteau in 2016, that brought tears.

As Pharis reached into the bag containing the weapon, Descoteau’s mother, Brenda Smith, sobbed quietly as her husband, Steve, put his arm around her shoulder to console her. Other members of the gallery, most of them family members or friends of Derek, reached out to offer support.

Pharis was on the stand late Wednesday and methodically introduced into evidence various items seized at the scene of Descoteau’s murder at his residence on Caswell Street in Chemainus. John is charged with second-degree murder in Descoteau’s death and attempted murder related to an attack on Descoteau’s girlfriend, Janelle Guyatt, who was 16 at the time.

The RCMP officer told the court the brown handled knife with a bloody blade was found on the ground next to the house. It was sent to a lab to be tested for fingerprints and DNA evidence. Police also seized a pair of sunglasses on the day of the murder.

Two days after the murder, Pharis and other officers gathered at the basement suite occupied by the 20-year-old Descoteau to look for additional evidence.

They found a semi-automatic pistol with a homemade silencer near the couch in the living room.

Court was told earlier in the trial that Descoteau and Guyatt were attacked while they were lying on a couch watching television in the early afternoon.

“I heard the dog growl and there was somebody standing behind the couch,” Guyatt testified on the first day of the trial.

“He was holding a knife in his hand, above his shoulder.”

Descoteau suffered a number of stab wounds and died en route to hospital. Guyatt was stabbed five times and spent more than two weeks in hospital.

Cpl. Pharis returned to the stand on Thursday morning.

The Supreme Court trial continues at the Duncan courthouse today and is expected to last three weeks.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

City of Port Alberni applies for grant funding for Quay to Quay pathway

Pathway connecting Harbour Quay and Victoria Quay could come with a $7 million price tag

Food trucks find space at Clutesi Haven Marina in Port Alberni

‘Food truck pod’ is a partnership between city, port authority and Tseshaht First Nation

Guest choreographer takes the ice with Mount Arrowsmith skaters

Mount Arrowsmith skating season is underway, with COVID-19 protocols in place

RCMP investigating after tires slashed in Port Alberni neighbourhood

RCMP are looking for anyone with information or video surveillance

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Most Read