Slow start to LORDA syrup production
LANSDOWNE – Jim Crawford holds out a cup filled with a clear liquid. It doesn’t look like much – in fact it just looks like water.
PICTOU – The love life of Christopher Falconer and the text messages he shared with one girlfriend came under scrutiny Friday in Pictou Supreme Court.
Two former girlfriends, who both had some sort of relationship with Falconer in the summer and fall of 2011, testified during his first-degree murder trial about the time he spent with him.
The 31-year-old Pictou man is accused of killing 19-year-old Amber Kirwan who went missing from a downtown New Glasgow street Oct. 9, 2011. Her remains were found in Heathbell on Nov. 5.
Tiffany Robson, 21, was the first ex-girlfriend to take the stand testifying that she first met Falconer, 31, at a party in the summer of 2011 and had a casual sexual relationship with him until they officially became a couple Oct. 18, 2011.
On Oct. 8, Robson said Falconer drove her to a party around 8 p.m. and she and some girlfriends went to Dooly's later that night.
She said she texted Falconer around midnight Oct. 9 and he responded around 1:45 a.m. with "Hay". After repeated tries to get ahold of him, he didn't respond to her until 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 9, when he asked if she found a "play date for the night."
Under cross-examination by Mike Taylor, she said it wasn't unusual for Falconer to not text her back right away.
Robson said the couple continued to see each other after that night and on Oct. 15, 2011, he asked her to help clean out his father's car. They drove to his father's place on Heathbell Road after lunch and she cleaned out the backseat while he did the trunk. She said he lived out of his car with his clothes in the trunk and had some personal belongings in his father's garage.
When Falconer stayed at her place, she said he would often carry his clothing and personal belongings around in a black bag that was also spotted in exhibit photos of the Chevrolet Impala he was known to drive.
She said there was a lot of uncooked spaghetti in the backseat of the car so she put this in a Sobeys bag as well as some other papers and wrappers. She said she tied the bag in a knot and left it in the backseat.
Robson told Taylor that Falconer wasn't concerned about what she cleaned out from the vehicle nor was he worried about getting rid of the garbage bag.
While they were in Heathbell, she said the police pulled into the yard and asked Falconer if they saw any suspicious vehicles in the area. He told them to speak to his father and continued cleaning the car.
Robson said when they left Heathbell, he turned left out of this father's driveway, drove past the police parked on the side of the road then turned around. She thought he was going to throw out the garbage from the car, but he turned the Impala around and went back to his father's where he retrieved a piece of white plastic. She said she never asked him what he went back for.
When they left the residence the second time, he turned in an opposite direction and left the Heathbell area.
Robson stated he dropped her back at her Ross Street apartment and texted her from another woman's phone, Jasmine Lawrence, around 8 p.m.to say he was leaving town and was sorry to hurt her.
"I am leaving town and won't be coming back. It's been coming for some time. If I hurt you I am sorry. Goodbye," he texted.
However, under cross-examination, she testified she knew he never actually left town.
She didn't hear from him again until Oct. 18 when she met him at Big Al's. They became an official couple then because he convinced her things were going to be good between them.
Robson also testified Falconer told her sometime after Oct. 2011 that he tried to commit suicide by overdosing on Tylenol 3 prescription drugs. However, when Taylor pushed for a precise time that he shared this news, Robson couldn't remember an exact date.
She said she remembered him telling her in his car outside the New Glasgow library because she walked out of there after she thought he was contacting other women on his Facebook page.
Robson said she didn't tell the police this information until a few weeks ago when she read in the news that Kirwan had codeine in her system. She said he often had Tylenol 3 tablets on him.
Taylor brought up the fact that Robson and Falconer did have arguments over the women in his life and that Falconer didn't like her being in contact with an ex-boyfriend, Landon Webb.
In a media scrum following the day's testimony, Taylor said there were a few issues he wanted to clarify with Friday's witnesses, to make sure the jury understood some of the contact he had with the women. He said having his client's personal life on display is a concern, but he doesn't think it will have much impact on the jury.
"These type of personal issues don't really play into the determination of guilt or innocence," he said. "Some of the questions asked were uncomfortable for some of the witnesses, but I don't think it will impact on how the jury views Mr. Falconer."
Another woman in Falconer's life at this time was Lawrence who testified she met Falconer through a family friend about a year before Kirwan went missing. She said their relationship was good at the start and he would do anything for her.
"The first night I met him at the bar, Owen introduced me to him and I said, 'I am taking you home.' He offered to buy be a drink. He said I was the first girl he ever bought a drink for."
Later that night, they returned to her apartment for more drinks and sex. She said they saw each other anytime he was in town for a while, but then they started having disagreements and she miscarried the his child. They lost touch for a bit but re-connected over Facebook and began friends again.
Lawrence also testified she met up with Falconer on Oct. 8 around 10:30 p.m. when he pulled up in the Co-op service station in his grey Impala.
"He asked if I needed a drive and I took it," she said. "We parked in the stadium parking lot and we sat and smoked a joint."
She said he dropped her off at a nearby friend's house about a half-hour later and continued her night without him. Lawrence said she partied with friends at Dooly's, Wranglers and another pub and the next day around lunchtime, she contacted Falconer for a drive to get new supplies for her apartment.
After about 45 minutes of errand running, Lawrence said he dropped her back home, but not before inviting her to Thanksgiving dinner. She declined and didn't see him for the rest of the day.
Lawrence said she didn't own a cellphone until Oct. 12, 2011, when Falconer gave her one for her birthday. She confirmed that he used her new cellphone to text Robson on Oct. 18 to say goodbye.
In addition to the testimony from these two women, a friend of Robson's, Candace Jordan, also testified she often saw Falconer driving the Chevrolet Impala and that it had a window that wouldn't work. Robson confirmed this, and said he sometimes drove a blue car that belonged to his grandfather.
A fourth witness, Virginia Clark-Druhan testified that she was Falconer's parole supervisor during the summer of 2011. She said she met with him about five times and had conversations on other occasions. She added that she would often write down her phone number on a note for her clients if she didn't' have a business card nearby.
The Crown asked her to identify a photo exhibit that had a yellow sticky note with her phone number and name on it. Early forensic evidence showed the note was inside a plastic bag in Falconer's Impala.
She told Taylor that she gives her contact information out to many parolees in this form, if necessary.
The trial will resume Monday with testimony from Falconer's step-sister Alice Meier. The Crown expects to wrap up its case by mid-week.