Kirwan murder: Meier on the stand Monday morning

Staff ~ The News
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Falconer trial continues this week in Pictou

PICTOU - The stepsister of Christopher Alexander Falconer is expected to be the first witness on Monday in Pictou Supreme Court.  

Christopher Falconer with sheriff in foreground is shown earlier this week in sketch by Joan Krawczyk.

Alice Meier will testify for the Crown during the first-degree murder trial of Falconer who accused of killing 19-year-old Amber Kirwan between Oct. 9 and Nov. 5, 2011.

She disappeared from a downtown New Glasgow street on Oct. 9 after partying with friends at Dooly's and her remains were found off a logging road in Heathbell about a month later.

The Crown anticipates it will wrap up its case this week and it's unknown if the defence will call any witnesses to testify. The proceedings are being overseen by Justice Nick Scaravelli and evidence is being heard by a 13-member jury.

The trial opened Jan. 7 with testimony from Kirwan's friends who were with her at a party at her apartment in Pictou Landing and Dooly's the night she disappeared.  Her boyfriend, Mason Campbell, also testified that he left to pick up Kirwan at Big Al's parking lot at 1:40 a.m. on Oct. 9 and but she wasn't there.

The jury heard from a Heathbell couple who found a pair of leggings and earrings that looked liked Kirwan's down an access road next to their property. Nathan Goodall and Lisa Williams alerted the police to the clothing and were key factors in bringing the missing person's investigation to Heathbell.

Testimony this past week started with the findings of forensic evidence from items collected at the Heathbell grave site, a Hardwood Hill Road residence that belongs to Meier and a Chevrolet Impala driven by Falconer.

Evidence proved that a fingerprint was found on the outer edge of a grocery bag that was inside another bag inside Falconer's car. The defence pointed out that none of Falconer's fingerprints were found anywhere else, except for an impression on the hood of his own car.

DNA evidence was also a big factor in trial last week, determining that Kirwan's DNA was found on the front of a shirt that had Falconer's DNA near the neckline on the back. The tank top, which was located in the same bag as the fingerprints in his car, also had a third unknown person's DNA on it.

The Crown pointed out that Kirwan's DNA was also found in the camper trailer on pieces of duct tape as well as a black piece of sweater material that matched clothing she was wearing the evening she went missing.

However, the defence countered this information by having the DNA expert confirm that Falconer's DNA was not found in the camper, at the autopsy, at the gravesite or in his own car, with the exception of the tank top. 

Toxicology evidence also showed that Kirwan had higher than therapeutic levels of codeine in her system when she died as well as acetaminophen and morphine, which are commonly found in Tylenol 3 prescription drugs. There were also traces of this drug found in a water bottle beside the bed and pill bottle in the bag that was found in Falconer's car.

However, under cross-examination, the toxicology expert couldn't say how much codeine was actually in Kirwan's system because of issues surrounding decomposition. The witness said it could have been in the therapeutic range or considerably higher but the numbers are not reliable.

In addition to forensic testimony, the court also heard from former girlfriends of Falconer's last week who spoke about his whereabouts on the Oct. 8 weekend as well as text messages exchanged between them. 

Geographic location: Heathbell, Pictou, New Glasgow Hardwood Hill Road

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