'There was a lot of blood': Trial begins for man accused of murdering Vancouver couple
Warning: This story contains content some readers may find disturbing.
A man accused of killing a Vancouver couple in their Marpole home two years ago is now on trial for first-degree murder. Rocky Rambo Wei Nam Kam has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of 68-year-old Richard Jones and his wife, 65-year-old Dianna Mah-Jones.
The couple's bodies were found on Sept. 27, 2017. Prosecutor Daniel Mulligan told the court in an opening statement the Crown contends the pair were violently killed on the previous evening.
“The Crown will argue that the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Kam was the killer, and that these killings were the result of planning and deliberation,” Mulligan said.
- Previous story: Charges upgraded to first degree
- Read more about the victims in our coverage from 2017
Mulligan told the court when Mah-Jones, a highly-respected occupational therapist, did not show up for work at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, a sales representative for a mobility equipment company offered to stop by her home and check in.
Anthony Purcell testified when he went to the house, he noticed a knife on the ground and a hatchet that appeared to have blood on it. He told the court when there was no answer at the front door, he went around the back and saw the back door was open behind the screen door. He testified he also noticed a bloody shoeprint on the step.
“So I banged on the door…and yelled out for Dianna, and just said, 'Dianna, it’s Anthony, I’m here to check on you, is everything OK?'” Purcell told the court. He testified when he didn’t get an answer, he went inside and saw more bloody footprints. He told the court he went towards the kitchen.
“There was a lot of blood, and there was obvious signs of struggle,” Purcell said. He testified he went outside and called 911, then stayed at the house until police arrived. He told the court he did not see anyone leaving the house while waiting for the officers to show up.
The court also heard from a former newspaper delivery person, Regan Tse, who testified he had spotted the knife and hatchet at the home earlier that morning. He told the court he had also met Jones before when he came out to get the paper, and the last time he saw him he was using a walker.
Mulligan told the court police found the bodies of Jones and Mah-Jones in the shower, and both had "cut-marks" on them. He expects a forensic pathologist will testify Jones’s death was caused by multiple sharp force injuries, including stab and slash wounds. He told the court he expects they’ll hear the doctor documented approximately 103 such injuries.
“Crown will argue that Mr. Jones was the victim of a prolonged, yet controlled attack in his kitchen,” Mulligan said.
Mulligan told the court the evidence suggests Mah-Jones was attacked when she returned home, and added they will hear evidence the cause of her death was blood loss from a laceration to the carotid artery.
“She was dragged to the kitchen where her throat was cut,” Mulligan said, adding that Mah-Jones also had injuries suggesting she had possibly struggled.
Mulligan told the court police discovered a hatchet with the same bar code had been purchased at a Canadian Tire on Sept. 13, along with other items, and the sale was recorded on security camera. That video has not yet been entered into evidence.
Mulligan said he also expected a forensic witness would testify Kam’s DNA profile matched one generated from the fingernails on Mah-Jones’s left hand, as well as from swabs from the knife found in the yard.
Mulligan told the court Kam was living less than a kilometre away from the couple, and Crown will argue he was captured on video in the neighbourhood.
Mulligan also said the Crown has no evidence of any relationship or connection between the accused and the victims. He told the court the Crown’s theory is Kam purchased the axe and other items "specifically to use to kill someone."
"There is no evidence as to when or why Mr. Kam targeted Mr. Jones. However the Crown will argue the purchase of the items used in the killing, along with the manner in which the victims were killed, is evidence upon which the court can conclude that these killings were the result of planning and deliberation,” Mulligan said.
The court also heard from a former neighbour of Mah-Jones and Jones, Emma Greenhalgh, who testified she saw a Kia Soul drive off after being parked outside the couple’s house on the evening of Sept. 26. She told the court Mah-Jones drove that kind of vehicle, and said it was very unusual for her to leave at that time of night, and added her neighbour usually parked in the garage. She testified she did not see anybody get in, but it appeared there was only one person in the vehicle.
Mulligan told the court Mah-Jones’s vehicle was not located near her home, but was found the next day, and added the keys were found in a flower bed.
Greenhalgh also testified Jones and Mah-Jones had a suite in the basement they rented as an Airbnb. When asked by crown if she recognized Kam as he sat in the courtroom, Greenhalgh said she did not.
The defence has not yet presented its case. The trial continues Thursday.
Warning: Graphic content. CTV News Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber is covering the case live from court. Follow along below.