Family takes issue with ruling in Pickton case;

Diane Rock's sister says Accused killer should be tried on all 26 counts of

first-degree murder

Joe Barkovich

Monday, August 21, 2006 - 09:00

Local News
- Two family members of a victim of Robert Pickton, the accused killer facing 26 counts of first-degree murder in British Columbia are "angry and frustrated" by a judge's ruling in how the case should be tried.

Fourth Street residents Lillian and Rene Beaudoin say Pickton should be tried on all 26 counts of first-degree murder, not six.

Lillian was a sister, through adoption, to Diane Rock, formerly of Welland.

Rock, born Sept. 2, 1967, was last seen Nov. 23, 2001 and reported missing Nov. 30, 2001. Pickton was charged with her murder April 2, 2002 following a search of his pig farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C. The charge was laid on the basis of DNA evidence; as far as the Beaudoins know, Rock's remains were not found.

The Beaudoins are taking issue with a ruling by Justice James Williams who, according to a Canadian Press story, decided that trying Pickton on 26 counts all at once would be too much for jurors to comprehend and would drag the case on needlessly.

Williams suggested the Crown proceed on six counts at first, but did not rule out trying Pickton on the remaining 20 at a later time.

The Beaudoins contend the judge's ruling is "driving a wedge" between the families of the victims, who from the beginning wanted Pickton tried on all counts at the same time.

"First and foremost, what I think it comes down to is the criminal has more rights than the victims or the victims' families, " Rene said in an interview.

He said the judge's decision to sever six counts from the 26 is "severing the families. The families have always been united in seeing this come through as whole, as one."

The Beaudoins said they were looking forward to the start of the trial on Jan. 8, 2007, because it meant the end of the ordeal was in sight.

But because of the judge's ruling, they say it could be two or three years before Pickton is tried for Rock's murder, or if ever.

"We don't know what's going to happen now," Lillian said. "This changes everything."

Rene said he could understand the concern about a burden on jurors listening to evidence in a trial of 26 counts of first-degree murder.

"But can you imagine the burden on the families? Four years in the waiting and now they're telling us it's going to be longer and possibly not even be heard?" he said.

Lillian said the latest news is even more difficult to comprehend for her 77-year-old mother, who adopted Diane as an infant. She was raised in Welland as Diane Rosemary Murin. Rock is the name of her second husband. The Rocks moved to British Columbia in 1992 where, after a while, the couple became estranged. Diane ended up in Vancouver's notorious downtown east side.

Twice married, Rock was the mother of five children. One of her daughters lives in Niagara, the Beaudoins said.

They are at a loss to understand reasons for the judge's selection of the six charges that were severed from the others.

According to news reports about the judge's decision, the evidence in those cases was described as "materially different" than in the others.

But said Rene: "We don't know what that means. Nobody is telling us." Said Lillian: "We need some answers on that. We don't understand the reasons for them choosing those six."

But Lillian did acknowledge being told of opportunity for a telephone conference with the judge. She said that came from a victims' services staff member in Vancouver.

"I was told I could have a meeting with the judge by phone to express my feelings in this matter ... she sounded like she was trying to encourage me to express my opinion to him on how I feel about his decision," she said, adding she was uncomfortable doing so because "the judge will talk circles around me."

Though four years have gone by since learning of Rock's death, their interest in the case has not waned, the Beaudoins say.

"It's on our minds 24/7," said Rene.

Lillian has compiled a collection of news story clippings, photos and Internet posts about the case that are kept in hard-cover binders.

The judge's ruling this month was a big set back for them, they said.

"We're frustrated. We were prepared (for trial) Jan. 8 for the 26, to be part of the 26 but now it's not going to be and may not ever be," Lillian said.

Their hope is that other victims' families who also disagree with the ruling "will speak loud like we're doing," she said.

"We want the judge to proceed as one trial on the 26 counts so that all of us families can have a conclusion to our nightmare," she said.

Regardless of what happens, the Beaudoins agree they will never have closure because "documentaries, books, movies" will keep the story going for years.

But it's important to them for Pickton to be tried on all counts at the same time because they want him convicted as a serial killer.

"If he is convicted on six counts, he's a killer but if he's convicted on 26 counts he's known as Canada's most notorious serial killer and I want him to wear his title...I don't want that to be taken away from him," Lillan said.

ID- 160723

2006 , Osprey Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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Bringng home Diane's life-Apr 5, 2002



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