Derek Descoteau was killed in Chemainus in 2016. (submitted)

Sight of murder weapon disturbing for family in trial of Chemainus man

Family members wept and a sheriff provided tissues

Family members wept and a sheriff provided tissues for one member of the gallery as a third day of testimony in the murder trial of Colin John wrapped up Wednesday.

It was the sight of a menacing looking buck knife produced by Cpl. Kiel Pharis, the RCMP officer in charge of evidence at the trial of the man accused of killing Derek Descoteau in 2016, that brought tears.

As Pharis reached into the bag containing the weapon, Descoteau’s mother, Brenda Smith, sobbed quietly as her husband, Steve, put his arm around her shoulder to console her. Other members of the gallery, most of them family members or friends of Derek, reached out to offer support.

Pharis was on the stand late Wednesday and methodically introduced into evidence various items seized at the scene of Descoteau’s murder at his residence on Caswell Street in Chemainus. John is charged with second-degree murder in Descoteau’s death and attempted murder related to an attack on Descoteau’s girlfriend, Janelle Guyatt, who was 16 at the time.

The RCMP officer told the court the brown handled knife with a bloody blade was found on the ground next to the house. It was sent to a lab to be tested for fingerprints and DNA evidence. Police also seized a pair of sunglasses on the day of the murder.

Two days after the murder, Pharis and other officers gathered at the basement suite occupied by the 20-year-old Descoteau to look for additional evidence.

They found a semi-automatic pistol with a homemade silencer near the couch in the living room.

Court was told earlier in the trial that Descoteau and Guyatt were attacked while they were lying on a couch watching television in the early afternoon.

“I heard the dog growl and there was somebody standing behind the couch,” Guyatt testified on the first day of the trial.

“He was holding a knife in his hand, above his shoulder.”

Descoteau suffered a number of stab wounds and died en route to hospital. Guyatt was stabbed five times and spent more than two weeks in hospital.

Cpl. Pharis returned to the stand on Thursday morning.

The Supreme Court trial continues at the Duncan courthouse today and is expected to last three weeks.

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