Verma Trial: Kelowna's Brittney Irving seen hugging her accused killer

Murder victim Brittney Irving was 24 years old when she was killed. - Contributed
Murder victim Brittney Irving was 24 years old when she was killed.
— image credit: Contributed

The wife of a key witness in the Crown’s case against accused killer Joelon Verma testified she saw murder victim Brittney Irving with Verma outside her house the week before Irving went missing.

Teresa Labonte, wife of Verma’s cousin, Jason Labonte, said Verma was at her house on Good Friday in 2010. At some point that evening, she went outside for a cigarette and saw Verma talking to a girl.

“He hugged her,” she said Monday. “They seemed friendly.”

Labonte didn’t know who the woman was, but the following Wednesday night, which was April 7, 2010, her brother-in-law was at her home and wanted to look at a media report about a missing girl, she said.

The court has previously heard testimony that media reports about Irving being reported missing were published that day.

When she saw the news item, Labonte formed the opinion that the woman who had been at her house the previous week was likely Irving.

Either the description of the vehicle or a photo with the news item “made me think that it possibly could have been her,” said Labonte.

Labonte also testified that the day before, she saw her husband putting a bicycle in the back of Verma’s truck and later saw him biking back toward their house.

Jason Labonte earlier testified that Verma contacted him on April 6, 2010—the day Irving was last seen alive-- saying he was stuck in the bush.

After Jason Labonte pulled Verma out, he testified he put a bike in the back of Verma’s truck and returned Verma’s truck to the man Verma had swapped vehicles with that day.

The spot where Jason Labonte said he met Verma was not far from where Irving’s body was eventually located off McCulloch Forest Service Road. She had been shot four times, including twice in the back.

Verma is currently on trial for first degree murder in connection with her death. The Crown is close to wrapping up their case, Justice Alison Beames told the jury Monday afternoon.

By Cheryl Wierda, Capital News contributor

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