Convicted murderer Robert Pickton dies in prison but questions remain

By Terry Lusty, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

(ANNews) – One of Canada’s most notorious serial killers is gone. Permanently!

On May 31st, the 74-year-old ‘pig farmer’ Robert Pickton died while in a coma at a Quebec hospital after he was violently assaulted by a fellow inmate in the maximum-security Port-Cartier Institution, approximately 280 Km northeast of Quebec City.

The villain from Port Coquitlam, B.C. was charged with murdering at least 26 women, mostly of Indigenous ancestry, on his huge multi-million-dollar pig farm where he and his brother often hosted huge booze and drug-infested parties attended by at-risk, vulnerable women from Vancouver’s Eastside drag area.

Apparently, the unsuspecting victims were often picked up along the drag after the bars closed, then invited, lured or coerced to accompany Pickton and his friends to the pig farm for a late night of partying and entertainment. Despite many, many years of continued female disappearances which police and authorities have been severely criticized about, especially by Indigenous people and organizations, the justice system seems to have failed the people miserably, turned a blind eye and ignored innumerable complaints and pleas for justice.

Finally, in 2002, Pickton was arrested and tried for six of the murders, convicted in 2007 of all cases and sentenced to life without parole for 25 years. Then, within the past year, when Pickton was seeking to acquire day parole, a 51-year-old unidentified inmate at his prison in Quebec assaulted him on May 17, stabbing him in the neck with the sharpened end of a toothbrush, then the pointed portion of a broken broom handle to his head. The as-yet unnamed assailant was promptly arrested and Pickton was rushed to hospital where he was placed in a medically-induced coma, but never regained consciousness before his untimely passing while still in the coma.

As ugly as this may sound, nobody could have been happier than his victims’ families who for many years had not recovered from the trauma and impact of their missing or murdered relatives. That said, however, one needs to look at the other side of the coin.

Some relatives have informed media that they feel “he didn’t suffer enough” for all the harm he’d caused and they wished he’d have lived out his normal life till he died in jail. To them, so many people have to carry on with their lives, burdened with the memories, pain and trauma of the many untried court cases as well as the recent attempts by Canada’s RCMP to rid themselves of many thousands of pieces of related evidence. And this is especially heartbreaking given the fact Pickton is now deceased.

Still, there are those not totally satisfied because so many were unable to get their day in court, to provide impact statements and extend their feelings of how horribly wronged they feel for the lack of closure or finality or some form of resolution. It is why they continue to struggle and beg for justice. They still seek answers, they still want to uncover if there were others who worked on the farm and likely had knowledge of the murders, and were, thus, accomplices of sorts… especially Robert’s own brother. There is the very strong belief that Pickton did not act alone and that there are others who were more than aware of the gruesome murders.

While Pickton was awaiting trial and in jail, he is reported to have claimed that he was responsible for 49 killings and wished he could have made it an “even 50.”

Despite his demise, many victims and survivors still clamour for justice, for closure, for answers, investigations and retention of the 40,000 pieces of evidence in police holdings. This evidence, it is felt, could be critical to eventually identifying other involved persons who have never been charged or convicted to this point in time.

As a reporter, I have been told by some victims who managed to escape Pickton’s clutches, that a lot of the women murdered and missing were abducted by the pig farmer and some were drugged to render them harmless before hauling them off to the farm.

So, yes, while it appears the case is ended because Pickton is gone for good, what’s not gone are the victims’ families, the unanswered questions, unresolved and continuing disappearances, the re-examination and restructuring of the judicial system and the potential prevention of similar situations in future.

This all raises the huge question of who else was involved, are there absolutely no accessories to the murders, and have police and investigators truly exhausted all possibilities?? I, for one, think not!

What about you, our readers? What do you think?


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