October 24, 1949: Robert William Pickton is born
in Port Coquitlam, BC, where he lives with brother and sister until
1991: Relatives of a growing list of missing women,
along with advocates for sex-trade workers, establish annual Valentine's
Day remembrance and press for tougher police investigation.
September 1998: Vancouver police set up team to
review files of as many as 40 women missing as far back as 1971.
Families of victims begin offering RCMP tips about Pickton’s
property. Missing persons reports are filed, but police take no
September 2001: Vancouver police and RCMP form
a joint task force - Project Evenhanded - to replace the stalled
city police investigation.
February 2002: RCMP officers, accompanied by missing-women
task force members, enter the Pickton property in suburban Port
Coquitlam on a firearms warrant. Task force officers use their own
warrant to begin searching the property for clues in missing women
case. Robert Pickton is charged with weapons offences as property
search continues. Robert Pickton is charged with two counts of first-degree
April 23, 2002: The first law suit is filed by
a victim’s family against government (Karin Joesbury, mother
June 6, 2002: Police and archaeologists begin
excavating Pickton’s farm.
September 19, 2002: A second law is suit filed
against the government (Father of Marcie Creison).
January 13 - 23, 2003: Preliminary hearing in
provincial court in Port Coquitlam, Honorable Judge David Stone
presiding. Pickton is committed to trial for 15 counts of murder.
November 18, 2003: Investigators wrap up mass
excavation and search of Pickton property.
February 20, 2004: B.C. government reports investigation
costs will likely run up to $70 million, money which has been set
aside in the provincial budget.
March 25, 2005: Honorable Judge Geoffrey Barrow
May 2005: Crown increases number of first-degree
murder charges to 27. Pretrial applications begin. Indictment is
June 2005: Pre-trial hearings begin in B.C. Supreme
Court in New Westminster, under publication ban. Justice James Williams
replaces Barrow for reasons of scheduling.
October 2005: Pre-trial hearings end.
January 30, 2006: Legal arguments [voir dire]
begin on admissibility of evidence.
March 2006: Total murder charges against Pickton
number 26, after one charge is ruled a nullity.
August 9, 2006: Mr. Justice Williams issues a
decision to sever the charges based on concern that proceeding on
all counts would impose an unreasonable burden on members of the
jury. He rules that six charges are materially different from the
others and should be severed from the rest.
August 2006: Thomas Loudamy, a California resident,
claims he received three letters from Pickton while posing as a
“down on her luck” woman. In these letters, Pickton
allegedly speaks about the expense of the trial, asserts his innocence,
quotes the Bible, and praises the trial judge.
September 2, 2006: News of the letters’
existence is broken by the Vancouver Sun.
September 8, 2006: The Crown announces its decision
to proceed first on the six counts, with the rest to be tried separately
at a later date.
October 4, 2006: A new indictment is filed for
the victims Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda
Ann Wolfe, Georgina Faith Papin, and Marnie Frey.
December 12, 2006: The Jury selection process
is completed, after just two days.
January 22, 2007: The jury trial begins. Pickton
faces six counts of first-degree murder charges. The media ban is
finally lifted, and for the first time Canadians hear the details
of what was found during the investigation.
January 23, 2007: The jury begins hearing Pickton’s
11 hour police interview. Police admit lying to Pickton to extract
his testimony in which Pickton says he had “one more planned
but that was to be the last,” and admits he got “sloppy”
near the end.
March 1, 2007: The Jury hears that Pickton’s
younger brother David is still a suspect.
March 5, 2007: The jury hears that Pickton’s
brother is not under active investigation as a suspect in the case.
December 6, 2007: Justice James Williams suspended jury deliberations on after discovering an error in his charge to the jury. Earlier in the day, the jury had submitted a written question to Justice James requesting clarification of his charge, asking "Are we able to say 'yes' [i.e., find Picton guilty] if we infer the accused acted indirectly?"
December 9, 2007: Picton was convicted of second-degree murder in the deaths of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Lee Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda Ann Wolfe, Marnie Lee Frey, Georgina Faith Papin.