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Pathologist testifies murdered Kits park caretaker had 59 injuries to head, neck and torso


At the trial for the man accused of murdering Justis Daniel, a well-know and beloved caretaker who lived in a cottage in Kitsilano’s Tatlow Park, a forensic pathologist spent Wednesday detailing dozens of significant injuries to the victim’s upper-body and head.

Paramedics found 77-year-old Daniel dead in his cottage in December 2021 after concerned friends asked for a wellness check because he hadn’t been seen or heard from.

Months later, in early March, Vancouver police released security camera footage from the neighbourhood showing a man they described as a person of interest pacing back and forth along a sidewalk.

Later that month investigators announced the arrest of Brent Steven White and said they believe he was the man shown in the video.

He was charged with second-degree murder and his trial began this week at B.C. Supreme Court, where witnesses testified the victim and the suspect knew each other.

On Wednesday, Dr. Steven White, a forensic pathologist who conducted an autopsy on Daniel’s deceased body for the BC Coroner’s Service, took the stand and testified he identified at least 59 separate injuries to the victim’s face, neck and torso.

He described stab wounds, slashes and blunt-force trauma – saying Daniel had several fractures in his face and a broken vertebrae in his neck.

“There would have been a considerable amount of force to be able to break the bone in that location,” he testified.

Daniel served as the caretaker in Tatlow Park for nearly 30 years and his friends from the neighbourhood say he was very friendly and always kept treats in his pockets for neighbourhood pets.

“He was a very strong and beautiful man,” said Melanie Kirkland, a friend who lived near the park.

Kirkland was one of several friends of Daniel who attended court on Saturday and listened to the pathologist’s gruesome description of his injuries.

She acknowledges the testimony was difficult to hear but told CTV News she was in court to honour the memory of her murdered friend.

"The community still grieves Justis Daniel. What happened was just horrible. Murder is not something that we, or anyone, is used to in anyone's neighbourhood,” Kirkland said. “We held a candlelight vigil for Justis and a lot of the community, about 100 of us, came together to remember Justis."

Although he attended court in person earlier in the week, on Wednesday Brent Steven White appeared by video from North Fraser Pretrial Centre where he is being held in custody.

The trial is being heard by a judge alone with no jury. Top Stories

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