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Murder conviction upheld in sex slaying of Island teen

Sep 29 2012

A man who brutally murdered a 13-year-old Vancouver Island girl more than eight years ago has lost his conviction appeal.

In December 2009, George Roswell Osmond was found guilty of the firstdegree murder of Kayla John, who was sexually assaulted, stabbed, beaten and strangled in the village of Zeballos in April 2004.

It was Osmond's second trial. His first conviction in 2005, based largely on a confession he made to police, was overturned on appeal and a new trial ordered because he did not get adequate access to a lawyer.

DNA evidence linking Osmond to the crime was the primary evidence against him at the second trial, which again saw him convicted.

Osmond, who was 21 at the time of the killing, appealed the second conviction, which the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed in a ruling released Friday.

On appeal, Osmond argued that a police canvass of the small community - in which Osmond and other young men provided DNA - amounted to a violation of his rights.

Osmond also claimed the police actions amounted to entrapment and further argued that the quality of the DNA made the conviction unsafe.

But a three-member panel of the appeal court found that the DNA evidence formed a powerful circumstantial case against Osmond.

In his reasons for judgment, Justice John Hall said that evidence supported the verdict against Osmond.

Hall concluded that there was no infringement of Osmond's rights by the police since it was a focused investigation of a small group. He found that Osmond had voluntarily furnished a sample of his blood.

"While this is a most unfortunate and tragic case for all involved herein, I do not consider that the trial record discloses any vitiating factual or legal error on the part of the trial judge," Hall said.

Justice Daphne Smith and Justice Kathryn Neilson agreed to Hall's ruling.

Kayla John was last seen walking toward her mobile home, where she lived with her mother and elder sister, who were not home the night of the slaying.

When the girl did not show up for school the next morning, a search was launched. Her badly injured and partially clothed body was discovered in a bushy area near her home.

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