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Prosecutors: Pig farmer confessed to 49 killings

Story Highlights

• Prosecutor tells jurors they will see video of Robert William Pickton confessing
• Defense tells jurors to watch video for demeanor
• Pickton has pleaded not guilty to six counts of murder
• Pickton is accused in the deaths of 26 women in British Columbia
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NEW WESTMINSTER, British Columbia (AP) -- Jurors prepared to watch videotaped interviews in which accused serial killer Robert William Pickton allegedly acknowledges slaying 49 women when his trial resumes Tuesday.

Pickton, 56, has been charged with 26 counts of first-degree murder, accused of killing mostly prostitutes and drug addicts who vanished from a drug-ridden Vancouver neighborhood in the 1990s. He has pleaded not guilty to the first six counts.

As the first day ended, jurors were told that they would observe Pickton talking about his alleged crimes first hand when the trial resumes Tuesday.

The trial opened Monday with prosecutor Derrill Prevett stunning the courtroom, saying Pickton had told investigators, including an undercover police officer planted in his jail cell, that he had slain 49 women.

"I was going to do one more and make it an even 50," Prevett quoted Pickton as telling investigators. "I made my own grave by being sloppy."

Pickton went on to describe himself as a mass murderer who deserved to be on death row, according to Prevett.

But defense lawyer Peter Ritchie told jurors Pickton did not kill or participate in the murders of the six women. He asked them to pay close attention to Pickton's demeanor when they watch the upcoming videotapes of his interrogations, in particular his level of sophistication. He did not address Pickton's alleged murder confessions.

"When you watch the videotapes, when you listen to them, pay close attention to what Mr. Pickton says and the manner in which he expresses himself," Ritchie told the jurors.

Ritchie also asked the jury to listen closely to details regarding Pickton's relationship with his brother, David.

Both brothers raised pigs on the family's 17-acre (7-hectare) farm outside Vancouver.

Jurors had been warned that details of the case, until now under a publication ban in Canada, would be horrific.

"I think this trial might expose the juror to something that might be as bad as a horror movie, and you don't have the option of turning off the TV," presiding British Columbia Supreme Court Justice James Williams said as he excused one juror.

As details began to emerge Monday, some relatives of the victims began to cry and leave the courtroom.

Prevett said the government would prove that Pickton murdered the six women and butchered their remains. As a successful pig farmer, he said, Pickton had the expertise and equipment to dispose of them.

The trial covers the murders of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda Wolfe, Georgina Papin and Marnie Frey.

"The heads of the individuals had been cut in two, vertically," Prevett said. "With the skulls were left and right hands and the front parts of the left and right feet."

He said both skulls had bullet wounds caused by 22-caliber bullets. Investigators found a Smith & Wesson rifle in Pickton's laundry room, sheathed in plastic with a sex toy attached. The toy had the combined DNA of Pickton and a victim, Prevett said.

Prevett said one of Joesbury's earrings was found in the slaughterhouse. He said human bones were found mixed with manure and that part of Wolfe's jaw, with five teeth still attached, was found in a pig trough.

Pickton, clean-shaven with a bald crown and shoulder-length hair, sat emotionless in a specially built defendant's box surrounded by bulletproof glass. During pretrial hearings, he occasionally chuckled to himself or scribbled in a notebook.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Robert William Pickton, in an undated video image, faces trial in the deaths of six women.

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