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Verma Trial: Shooting outing planned for day Kelowna's Brittney Irving disappeared
Murder victim Brittney Irving and her brother, Joze Macculloch, nine years her senior, in happier times.
A day before murder victim Brittney Irving’s drug deal with boyfriend “Joey” was supposed to go down, she told her brother she and Joey were going shooting as part of the deal.
Joze Macculloch told the court that Irving was going to leave the marijuana for the deal in the back of her Explorer in an area around Big White and then ride with Joey to make the deal.
“They’d go out and shoot some guns and come back,” Macculloch remembers being told about the planned deal. Macculloch testified he was confused about the shooting plan, because it “didn’t sound like the normal procedure.”
Normally, one would go to a quiet place and not attract attention, he said.
But when he expressed misgivings, “she just drove it into me that Joey was all good and I had nothing to worry about.”
Macculloch never met Irving's boyfriend. It is alleged that “Joey” is Joelon Verma, the man currently on trial in connection to Brittney’s death.
She disappeared on April 6, 2010, the day the drug deal was to take place.
Her body was found in a wooded area of McCulloch Forest Service Road on April 26, 2010 and a forensic pathologist testified it was likely she was shot twice in the back before falling to the ground and being shot in the chest and abdomen as the shooter stood at her feet.
Dr. Charles Lee posited that scenario Thursday when asked to tell the court the order of Irving’s gunshot wounds.
Lee testified he couldn’t say which wound she suffered first, but the trajectory of the wounds suggested Irving was shot in the back as she stood and lying as she suffered wounds to the front of her body.
Each of the four shots would have been fatal, he said.
Irving’s left forearm was also injured, apparently from the shot that ended up in her lower chest. The arm wound exposed a bone and is “consistent” with a defensive injury, Lee said.
However, under cross examination he also said the wound could also have been from a fifth shot.
Lee found shotgun fragments and one “relatively intact” shotgun shell in her body and while he couldn’t say exactly how far the shooter was from Irving when the shots were fired, he did say an examination of her body indicated the gunshots were “distant.”
He defined that as “anything beyond two to three feet.”
He couldn’t say if the same gun fired all the shots or if the shots were fired by one or more people.
Lee was also asked if he could determine when Irving had died, but he said a number of factors, particularly temperature, affect the rate of decomposition and he couldn’t make a definitive estimate. He says her decomposition indicated she was dead “at least a few days.”
The crown is alleging Irving was killed on April 6, 2010. Her body was found laying on a patch of snow nearly three weeks later. However, defence asked if the pathologist’s findings were inconsistent with her being shot a few days prior to being found, and he said they were not.
Verma stands charged with first degree murder in connection to Irving’s death. The trial is expected to continue into October.
By Cheryl Wierda, Capital News contributor
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