FINAL SUBMISSIONS IN DOUBLE HOMICIDE JURY TRIAL OF BENJAMIN RONALD MARKI.
Appearing in Courtroom 205 this morning, Wednesday April 18,2017 before Superior Court Justice Terrence Platana for his jury trial is 42 year old BENJAMIN RONALD MARKI. He’s led into the prisoner’s box by TBPS Special Constables Ryan and Jamie who will ensure that the accused is well protected and guarded. He has his handcuffs removed for the day. Marki is about 5’7” tall and average build. He’s wearing dark pants with grey long sleeve shirt. Clean shaven with short hair shaved down the sides. Has a bald spot of approximately 4-5” diameter on top back area of head with his new Slingblade style haircut. He’s accused of murdering 60 year old Wilfred Pott and 50 year old Anne Chuchmuch on December 27,2015.
MARKI is represented by local lawyers George Joseph and Christin Marrello. Crown Attorney Andrew Sadler and Katrina van Kessel are presenting the case for the Crown. Victim Services representative Shannon is in the body of the court guiding family members through this difficult process.
There are several members of the public in the body of the court and even some local paid media establishments decided to make a rare appearance to report. Even Dougall Media showed up on time today.
There are 12 jury members, 9 women and 3 men.
Crown Attorney Andrew Sadler starts first and has a 65 slide PowerPoint presentation for the jury titled “Why Benjamin Marki is Guilty”. Someone intended for Chuchmuch and Pott to die. Someone intended to start a fire and someone intended to commit an indignity to a human body. The only rational conclusion is Benjamin Marki did it.
He takes us through the trial evidence wanting the jury to remember 3 key pieces of evidence…THE BLOOD, THE GASOLINE, THE KNIVES
Blood on Marki’s hands, gasoline on Marki’s shoes and the knife with victim’s blood.
“Consider each piece of evidence in the context of the whole” Sadler tells the jury
MOTIVE OF BENJAMIN MARKI
There have been suggestions that Anne blamed Marki for drowning death of a dog and that Marki was failing to turn his life around.
MOTIVE IS NOT A REQUIRED ELEMENT TO PROVE FOR THIS CHARGE.
KNIVES ON THE BLUE POLARIS SNOWMOBILE IN THE GARAGE.
Knife B had blood DNA of Wilf & Anne on it. Robert Guitard testifies he left garage locked at 5:30pm on the day of the fire. Knives were not on snowmobile. He is only person with garage key. Knives appeared on right side snowmobile running board after Marki was near snowmobile. Marki had the opportunity to place knives there. The location of the knives means they could not have been contaminated by secondary blood transfer.
Sadler submits to the jury that while Guitard and the police have different testimony on the dog’s leash, Guitard is accurate in his garage testimony. The paper towel testimony and DNA analysis of paper towel are just more evidence pointing to Marki.
The timing of the 911 calls. Robert Guitard phones 911. Fire Rescue arrives 10 minutes later. Because the fire was started with gasoline, it would have been a ‘WHOOSH’
Wilfred Potts body was found by Thunder Bay Fire Rescue. It had pulseless electrical activity in his heart meaning he had just died minutes before. The only person who had an opportunity to place knives on snowmobile is Benjamin Marki. It’s the only thing that makes sense.
Ben Marki’s hand was bleeding when he put on new socks which explains blood on socks. The burned Helix denim jeans with blood DNA in the laundry room have same tears that were displayed on LCBO video. Marki was wearing black jeans when he was taken to police station.
Sadler shows pictures of jeans in laundry room and the jeans at police lab. They look the same. Not tampered with.
Detective Shawn Whipple was first officer to be alone with Marki in room. He detected odour of gas. Testing by scientist Hong-You show significant gasoline on Marki’s shoes.
Marki gave two different versions of what happened that evening. These versions included Marki heading to the bus stop, then returning to the home after hearing sirens.
The second version where he stated he was out walking the dogs and returned to find the house on fire.
Crown Attorney Sadler further tells the jury “Marki’s two version of events are inconsistent and don’t make sense. This is Marki making up a story for the evidence he knows police are going to find.”
Neither version makes sense.
If your house is on fire and the fire department shows up…that’s help. Marki knows bodies are inside. That’s why he has to be coaxed from the doorway by Fire Captain Gowanlock.
Marki lied about seeing Brian Walker’s statement. He told Walker he seen his statement and Walker’s wife statement. Walker’s wife never gave statement.
WILL AND ANNE CAME TO THUNDER BAY TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES AROUND.
Toxicology reports on Pott was consistent with someone who suffered the serious illnesses he had. Anne used marijuana. Not a high risk lifestyle.
In a final submission to jury, Sadler states “USE YOUR LOGIC, REASONING AND COMMON SENSE. CONSIDER THE WHOLE OF THE EVIDENCE. THE ONLY RATIONAL CONCLUSION THAT CAN BE DRAWN IS THAT BENJAMIN MARKI IS GUILTY”
DEFENCE SUBMISSION BY GEORGE JOSEPH.
He thanks the jury for listening to everything. He also has a short power point presentation titled “WHY BENJAMIN MARKI IS NOT GUILTY”
Joseph tells the jury “The worst thing a government can do to a citizen is convict a citizen who is not guilty”. Joseph agrees on the evidence but disagrees with the perspective taken by some evidence. He says all the evidence is circumstantial. Marki was emotional and trying to get in the house during the fire because he was worried about him ‘Mom and Dad’
Marki handed dog over fence to neighbour and that explains secondary blood transfer to his hand. During the statements given to police, he was excited and worried about Will and Anne.
But the gasoline on the shoes could have gotten there anytime. Science can’t prove when gas was out on shoes.
KNIFE BLADE NOT LONG ENOUGH
Joseph suggests that the 9cm blade on knife could not have caused the 11.5cm deep stab wound to Anne’s shoulder or the the 14cm deep stab wound to Will’s thigh. He suggests the skin is not compressible enough for the blade to go so deep.
Ben’s DNA is not under Will’s fingernails.
Joesph suggests that the testimony of Robert Guitard is not reliable due to the failure to notice dog leash.
It’s not Benjamin Marki’s job to explain how knife got on blue Polaris snowmobile or how the secondary blood transfer occurred.
He submits to the jury that the Crown cannot prove the jeans were the same ones work in LCBO video. Denim jeans are one of the most common articles of clothing in North America.
ABSENCE OF MOTIVE SUPPORTS INNOCENCE.
Joseph shows a slide to the jury that says “WHODUNNIT ?”
He tells the jury that it’s human nature to try and solve this horrific crime. But he asks if the Crown has proved this beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the jury thinks “maybe” or “probably” Benjamin Marki did this then they MUST find him NOT GUILTY.
BENJAMIN MARKI IS NOT REQUIRED TO EXPLAIN ANYTHING. HE HAS A RIGHT TO SILENCE.
SUBMISSIONS COMPLETE. JUSTICE PLATANA ADDRESSES THE JURY AND TELLS THEM TO BE BACK FOR 11 am tomorrow morning. They will receive his charge and then begin deliberations. They should bring an overnight bag because if they don’t reach decision on first day, they all go to hotel together under guard. And return following morning to deliberate until a decision is reached. The jury remains sequestered until decision is reached.
HIS HONOUR JUSTICE PLATANA CHARGING THE JURY TOMORROW MORNING AT 11am
The jury charge consists of the judge’s instructions to the jury about the law that applies to the case being tried.
Jury verdicts in criminal trials must be unanimous. All twelve jurors must agree on the verdict. Once the trial judge charges the jury, jurors deliberate until they reach agreement. If the jurors cannot agree after an extended period of deliberation, the trial judge may declare a mistrial and a new trial may be ordered. The jury’s decision-making process is secret and cannot be discussed with anyone outside of the jury room, even after the jury delivers its verdict. It is a criminal offence for anyone to disclose any information about a jury’s deliberations.
THE JURY ALONE MAKES THE DECISION.