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Shotgun, shoes found in car trunk sent to RCMP lab

Oct 19 2012

A B.C. Supreme Court jury looked on intently Thursday as a forensic identification officer held up the shotgun allegedly used to kill Leslie Hankel in his small Pembroke Street apartment in the early morning of March 3, 2010.

Victoria police Const. Ken Ramsay introduced a variety of evidence found in the trunk of a champagne-coloured 1989 Thunderbird seized by officers investigating Hankel's death.

Andrew Belcourt and Samuel Mcgrath have been charged with the second-degree murder of Hankel, a 52-year-old man with mental-health issues.

The accused have pleaded guilty to robbery with a firearm and breaking into Hankel's apartment. The issue the jury must decide is whether the men are also guilty of killing Hankel, who died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Ramsay testified that before searching the car, he was told police were looking for a shotgun. When he opened the trunk, he immediately noticed the wooden stock of a shotgun.

The weapon, which was wrapped in a black plastic bag, was sent to the RCMP lab for forensic testing, he told Justice Malcolm Macaulay.

Ramsay testified that he also found a white plastic bag from Wellburn's Food Market in the trunk of the car.

Inside the bag was a man's wallet containing Hankel's Care-Card, driver's licence, library and Safeway cards as well as wallet-sized photographs.

Ramsay showed the jury a Motorola cellphone, four black knit gloves, an expended shotgun shell and a new black wallet that were also in the bag.

As he held up the gloves, Ramsay explained that sections of the gloves had been cut out, circled and labelled for testing at the RCMP forensic lab.

The jury was also shown a pair of size nine Reebok running shoes found in a Shopper's Drug Mart bag inside a black Adidas knapsack.

A second pair of runners - size 12 Nikes - was in a white Market on Yates bag inside the knapsack.

Ramsay testified that he saw reddish-brown staining consistent with dried blood on the shoes.

Both pairs of shoes were sent to the RCMP forensic lab and had been cut and had pieces removed from the sole, he told the court.

The forensic identification officer held up a black Avirex T-shirt, with a large lighter-coloured graphic on the front, which had been found in the Adidas bag.

Both the bag and the T-shirt were sent to the RCMP lab for forensic testing, Ramsay said.

Ramsay's testimony is expected to continue today.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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