Accused serial killer goes on trial in Canada for Indigenous murders

Accused serial killer goes on trial in Canada for Indigenous murders
Accused serial killer goes on trial in Canada for Indigenous murders

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Relatives and friends of late Marcedes Myran gather for a candlelight vigil in front of Manitoba's highest trial court in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on April 28, 2024, on the eve of the trial of the accused. — AFP pic

WINNIPEG, April 30 — The trial of an alleged serial killer accused of murdering four Indigenous women and dumping their bodies in a landfill began Monday in Winnipeg, in central Canada.

Jeremy Skibicki, 37, was charged in 2022 with first-degree murder. He is suspected of having targeted Indigenous women living on the street.

With his head shaved, a long goatee and small round glasses, the accused did not speak yesterday, but has already announced that he will plead not guilty.

The first day of the trial, scheduled to last six weeks, was mainly devoted to a preliminary hearing.

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In the courtroom, which smelled of burnt sage after a ritual cleansing ceremony performed by Indigenous women, relatives of the victims took their seats in an atmosphere of contemplation.

“It’s going to be very, very hard on me and my family. But we are looking to get justice for my sister and to hold him accountable,” said relative Jorden Myran before the trial.

The bodies of Morgan Harris, 39, and Marcedes Myran, 26, are believed to have been dumped at the Prairie Green landfill, north of the Manitoba provincial capital Winnipeg.

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The partial remains of another victim, Rebecca Contois, 24, were found in a different landfill, while the body of a fourth unidentified woman, whom Indigenous leaders have named Buffalo Woman, has not been found.

Earlier this year, Ottawa and the provincial government of Manitoba committed Can$40 million (US$30 million) to search for the missing remains.

The trial comes as Canada has been reeling from revelations that at least 1,200 Indigenous women were killed or went missing in recent decades, and the separate discoveries of hundreds of unmarked children’s graves at Indigenous residential schools across the country.

A 2019 inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women found that they were 12 times more likely to experience violence and seven times more likely to be killed than other women in Canada. — AFP

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