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Witness discusses voodoo and its relation to 2021 Kelowna murder

The murder allegedly took place in Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood on May 30, 2021
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Lorence Williams was charged after an incident that resulted in a death in Rutland on May 30, 2021. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)

A 45-day Kelowna murder trial continues to progress through BC Supreme Court, with multiple witnesses being called to the stand, including the man who found the body, a forensic pathologist and RCMP officers.

On the second week of the trial by jury, the court heard allegations that voodoo magic may have motivated a series of actions that led to the death of Thomas Chadwick.

The accused, Lorence Williams, is currently on trial for the second-degree murder of his former roommate after an incident that took place outside their house on Sexsmith Road in Kelowna on May 30, 2021.

Second-degree murder charges are used in instances where an accused’s role in a death is believed to have been intentional but not pre-planned.

Chadwick had been living in the basement of the house in Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood for a few years at the time of his death.

The jury has heard from witnesses that Williams had only been living in the basement of the house for a few months before being asked to move out.

Cornel Fisher, who is both the landlord and upstairs resident of the home, told the court he had evicted Williams so that his girlfriend, Katherine Reimer, could move in.

Williams and Fisher are both of Jamaican heritage.

The court has heard allegations the eviction notice was the catalyst that triggered Williams to begin engaging in concerning behaviour, involving voodoo.

Fisher told the court on March 12 that he believed Williams had been acting strange in the days leading up to Chadwick’s death.

Fisher said that he was worried about Williams’ behaviour, specifically regarding what he claims to have been “evil” voodoo practices.

On cross-examination, Fisher described voodoo paraphernalia that Williams had allegedly gathered.

Fisher told the court as a Jamaican he is aware of voodoo practices, and he wanted to distance himself from Williams’ behaviour.

While on the witness stand on March 11, Fisher’s girlfriend Reimer told the court that in the days leading up to Chadwick’s death, she had also become increasingly fearful of Williams and was afraid to be alone with him.

She told the court she had witnessed Williams yell and slam doors in the days before Chadwick’s death.

Reimer also told the court about two instances where the police had been called to the house on the day prior to Chadwick’s death.

On the afternoon of May 29, 2021, Williams had called the RCMP himself.

After police attended and spoke to Williams, additional mental health support professionals were called to the scene.

The Police and Crisis Team (PACT) spoke with Williams inside the house.

Police were called again that evening. At that time, Williams told police that he no longer wanted to enter the house but wanted his belongings.

The attending officers assisted Reimer, Chadwick and Fisher in packing Williams’ belongings in plastic bags and carrying them upstairs.

Before his belongings had all been brought outside, Williams left the house without an explanation.

Williams allegedly returned to the house on the afternoon of May 30 and briefly spoke to Chadwick but did not collect his belongings.

Reimer told the court that later that evening while dinner was being prepared, Chadwick stepped outside for what she assumed was a cigarette, but never re-entered the house.

At approximately 10 p.m., Fisher exited the house to make sure his car windows were rolled up before going to bed.

“The next thing I know he started yelling and yelling,” said Reimer.

After rushing over to the door, Reimer said she saw Chadwick’s bloody body lying on the ground.

Reimer said it looked like Chadwick’s body had been placed precisely to lay the bottom of the steps to the house.

Earlier in the trial on March 8, the court heard testimony from a forensic pathologist who said that Chadwick likely died as a result of multiple bouts of blunt-force trauma to his head.

Reimer said in one instance shortly before Chadwick’s death, Williams asked her to come down to the basement with her to look at something, which she declined.

The court heard that Williams allegedly decorated the basement with spiritual items.

Reimer testified that she believes she may not be alive today if she had gone down to the basement with Williams.

Before his belongings had all been brought outside, Williams left the house without an explanation.

Williams allegedly returned to the house on the afternoon of May 30 and briefly spoke to Chadwick but did not collect his belongings.

While on the stand, Reimer told the court that later that evening while dinner was being prepared, Chadwick stepped outside for what she assumed was a cigarette, but never re-entered the house.

At approximately 10 p.m., Fisher exited the house to make sure his car windows were rolled up before going to bed.

“The next thing I know he started yelling and yelling,” said Reimer.

After rushing over to the door, Reimer said she saw Chadwick’s bloody body lying on the ground.

Reimer said it looked like Chadwick’s body had been placed precisely to lay the bottom of the steps to the house.

Earlier in the trial on March 8, the court heard testimony from a forensic pathologist who said that Chadwick likely died as a result of multiple bouts of blunt-force trauma to his head.

READ MORE: Doctor who performed autopsy questioned in Kelowna roommate murder trial

Williams was arrested on May 31, 2021.

An RCMP officer involved in Williams’ arrest told the court that the accused had been cooperative, alert and coherent at the time of his arrest.

An audio recording of a police interview with Williams after his arrest was played for the court.

In the recording, Williams can be heard telling the police that he had been involved in an altercation with Chadwick.

Chadwick’s death also prompted the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), a civilian oversight agency of the police in B.C., to open an investigation into the RCMP’s involvement with Williams prior to the murder.

The IIO investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death in B.C.

The RCMP and the mental health resource, also called the Police and Crisis Team (PACT), had been called to the house twice on the day prior to the murder specifically regarding Williams’ mental well-being.

The IIO concluded the investigation on Jan. 10, 2022, and reported that there was no police wrong doing.

The IIO investigation determined that police did not have grounds to apprehend Williams prior to the incident, despite the fact that there were concerns for his mental health and well-being.

The trial continued this week.



Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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