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Verma Trial: Kelowna murder suspect felt police were watching
A month before Joelon Verma was arrested in connection to the murder of Brittney Irving, police had him—and others—under surveillance.
As Verma was watched leaving the YMCA on May 25, 2010, he appeared to be “suspicious he was being watched,” testified Cpl. Jon Collins on Monday.
The court heard about Verma’s travels that day and how he was in the same location as Mike Roberts—owner of the truck Verma allegedly got stuck in the bush near where Irving’s body was eventually located—twice.
Police first saw Roberts arrive at a Quail Ridge-area apartment building that morning and meet with Verma. Two other men—driving trucks logoed with the same company name—were also seen at the apartment, said Collins.
Later, Roberts’ wife’s vehicle, and one of the company vehicles seen earlier in the day, were spotted at the YMCA at the same time Verma’s Mercedes was parked there.
However, Collins said he could not see inside the YMCA and did not know what the men were doing inside. He also agreed under cross-examination that his belief that Verma appeared to be “suspicious” as he left the YMCA was not in his notes.
Earlier on Monday, the court heard from another man involved in a drug transaction with Irving the day she disappeared. Curtis Woloshen testified that he didn’t actually know he was doing the deal with Irving on April 6, 2010 until she pulled up outside the Knox Mountain store.
Woloshen’s associate, Desmond Shea, had made the arrangements for the deal, he testified.
Woloshen believes they met “just before noon.” He drove off in Irving’s Explorer to another location to get 76 pounds of marijuana and load it into Irving’s vehicle before returning to Shea and Irving.
Irving left with the drugs, but said she would provide payment, which was “upwards of $120,000,” in about an hour.
“She was going to call and we were going to meet up,” said Woloshen.
After three or four hours went by, they started to get concerned, he said. Video surveillance shows him speaking to a staff member at the Days Inn at 3:45 p.m. that day, and Woloshen said he later went back to the Days Inn with Shea to speak with Irving’s brother, who she was staying in the hotel with.
Later that day or the following day, the duo went to the airport “to see if her vehicle was there,” Woloshen said.
Woloshen spoke to police about his dealings with Irving at two local pubs, but never gave an official police statement.
“I just didn’t want to go on the record,” he said.
A summary of his conversations with police was provided to him prior to his testimony, but Woloshen said he disagreed with what police attributed to him, the court heard.
Exactly what police attributed to him was not disclosed to the jury Monday.
Irving was last seen alive April 6, 2010 and her body was found in a wooded area outside Kelowna later that month. Verma is charged with first degree murder in her death.
By Cheryl Wierda, Capital News contributor