Derek Descoteau was killed in Chemainus in 2016. (submitted)

Sight of murder weapon disturbing for family in trial of Chemainus man

Family members wept and a sheriff provided tissues

Family members wept and a sheriff provided tissues for one member of the gallery as a third day of testimony in the murder trial of Colin John wrapped up Wednesday.

It was the sight of a menacing looking buck knife produced by Cpl. Kiel Pharis, the RCMP officer in charge of evidence at the trial of the man accused of killing Derek Descoteau in 2016, that brought tears.

As Pharis reached into the bag containing the weapon, Descoteau’s mother, Brenda Smith, sobbed quietly as her husband, Steve, put his arm around her shoulder to console her. Other members of the gallery, most of them family members or friends of Derek, reached out to offer support.

Pharis was on the stand late Wednesday and methodically introduced into evidence various items seized at the scene of Descoteau’s murder at his residence on Caswell Street in Chemainus. John is charged with second-degree murder in Descoteau’s death and attempted murder related to an attack on Descoteau’s girlfriend, Janelle Guyatt, who was 16 at the time.

The RCMP officer told the court the brown handled knife with a bloody blade was found on the ground next to the house. It was sent to a lab to be tested for fingerprints and DNA evidence. Police also seized a pair of sunglasses on the day of the murder.

Two days after the murder, Pharis and other officers gathered at the basement suite occupied by the 20-year-old Descoteau to look for additional evidence.

They found a semi-automatic pistol with a homemade silencer near the couch in the living room.

Court was told earlier in the trial that Descoteau and Guyatt were attacked while they were lying on a couch watching television in the early afternoon.

“I heard the dog growl and there was somebody standing behind the couch,” Guyatt testified on the first day of the trial.

“He was holding a knife in his hand, above his shoulder.”

Descoteau suffered a number of stab wounds and died en route to hospital. Guyatt was stabbed five times and spent more than two weeks in hospital.

Cpl. Pharis returned to the stand on Thursday morning.

The Supreme Court trial continues at the Duncan courthouse today and is expected to last three weeks.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop donation bin runneth over

Volunteers now working toward a reopening soon with protocols in place

Man found dead in his tent at Chemainus homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Simpson staying sharp for the baseball call

Pirates’ Chemainus player scraps initial plans for Houghton College in New York

CBIA ad campaign a business booster

Great to learn more about the people serving the community

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Limit gun capacity to five bullets, victims group urges Trudeau government

Current limits are generally five bullets for hunting rifles and shotguns and 10 for handguns.

Most Read