WHO IS ROBERT PICKTON?
As Halloween draws nearer, I figure it is appropriate to talk about the most horrific serial killing in Canada’s contemporary history. Mind you, this case is as gruesome as it is complex so discretion is advised and all that jazz. This is not a story for the faint heart; prepare yourself for the chilling details of Canada’s largest serial killer investigations to date.
(I was going to insert a picture of a naked mole rat as joke because Pickton does slightly resemble one but I didn’t wanted to offend naked mole rats so we will just move on.)
Now we descend into the world of Robert William Pickton—otherwise known as ‘the pig farmer killer’. Pickton was 60 years old when found guilty of second-degree murder for the deaths of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Georgina Papin, Marnie Frey, and Brenda Wolfe. Pictures below.
Some facts: he was born in 1949 somewhere in British Columbia, his family have been pig farmers for generations, he has one brother and a sister, and people considered him a ‘quiet man’.
In consideration of the heinous crimes he committed, I’m not going to butter this guy up by explaining his ‘troubled past’ or ‘personal problems’. I don’t really think he deserves the credit of bullshit like: ‘he was a really good guy before, I swear! Willie smiled at me once in a 7-11! I don’t know how he could have done this! He shared taquitos with the homeless!’
Anyhow, Pickton himself stated that he lived “a good life, but a hard life.” The world didn’t fuck this one up. The evil was born from inside, and extrapolated like a deadly weed.
Alright, enough sappy stuff.
HOGWASH AND SLOPPINESS
Robert William Pickton, known as ‘Willie’ by his (former) friends, was initially arrested on February 5th, 2002. The police happened to be searching his farm with the completely unrelated warrant of firearm investigation, and happened to stumble upon the personal belongings of a missing woman. Note that since 1978, around 50 women (particularly from an area known as the ‘Low Track’) had been going missing from Vancouver’s downtown east-side. These disappearances brought about the “BC Missing Women Investigation”, and the belongings found at Pickton’s farm happened to belong to one of the missing women listed. This lead to an extensive investigation of Pickton’s farm, pictured below.
This picture was taking during the intensive search, including the Missing Women task force, of Robert Pickton’s farm. Picture cred: http://www.missingpeople.net/on_willys_pig_farm.htm
In the blink of an eye, Pickton became the prime suspect for many of these disappearances. To this day it is debated whether or not he is accountable for all of them, but there is no solid proof defending this theory. However, DNA evidence has revealed that he may have had a role in more than half of them. The Pickton farm underwent extensive and intensive investigation under the hands of law enforcement of crime specialists alike. It didn’t take long for the grisly picture to start painting itself: the “simple pig farmer” was slowly unmasked to be a nothing less than a monster. Inside a motorhome on the property, an appalling amount of blood evidence was found on a mattress and elsewhere throughout the motorhome (pictured below, it’s pretty grimy).
Prosecutors declared that it was the blood of Mona Wilson, one of Pickton’s alleged victims. The tremendous amount of blood on the mattress brought experts to the conclusion that it was where Pickton first attacked his victims. The blood was far from the only damning evidence: investigators also discovered the clothing, shoes, and jewelry of women, as well as an asthma inhaler that was determined to belong to Sereena Abotsway, another victim.
I read through parts of an interrogation that took place after this search, I’ll link it here if any of you are interested in it. It is very long and mostly consists of the cop trying to make nice so Pickton will spill all his dirty secrets, but it is a curious read. Pickton displays very weird behavior, and goes from blatantly denying that he had anything to do with these murders to neither confirming nor denying his involvement.
There were a few parts that particularly caught my attention.
In this interrogation, Sergeant Bill Fordy, the interrogator, asks Pickton what thinks about being charged for two murders and investigated for about fifty others. Pickton replies, “Hogwash.”(some sort of twisted pun? who knows with this motherfucker)
He then goes on to say, several times, that “It could be set up.” This is the part where the audience rolls their eyes; a lot of the evidence (including Mona Wilson’s blood DNA and other questionable objects that will be mentioned soon) had already been uncovered at this point.
Nonetheless, Pickton goes on to say and repeat tediously that nothing will be found on his land because there is nothing there. The exhausted Sgt. Fordy has to continue emphasizing that evidence had already been found. Pickton himself seemed to be full of ‘hogwash’.
Pickton is later asked what kind of person he sees himself as, to which he responds “I’m just a pig man that’s all I got to say.” (followed by a chuckle, as the document notes. interpret that as you will.)
For the most part, at least in the earlier portion of the interrogation, that is all he has to say. That and the fact “it could be set-up”.
Fordy does, however, get very close to a confession after pressing Pickton on how he killed Mona Wilson. After many tedious ‘no comment’ statements, Pickton eventually replies “Sloppiness.” Sgt. Fordy then asks why Pickton didn’t clean up, to which we learn this murderous being was “too busy working sites.”
An RCMP officer went undercover when Pickton was imprisoned. In this footage, you hear Pickton claim that he killed 49 women, and was upset that he couldn’t make it “an even 50”. Skip to 4:35 to hear him gloat about all his murders. He also mentions here that he got ‘sloppy’ with is killings, which is why he eventually got caught.
Well, Willie, you moldy squash, your ‘sloppiness’ put you in serving 6 concurrent life sentences with no eligibility for parole in 25 years. What’s fun about concurrent life sentences vs. consecutive is that it is virtually impossible to get out on parole with the murder of 6 people under your belt. With consecutive life sentences, the charges are separated and subjectively it is easier to get out only looking at one murder. Either way, Pickton will surely be incarcerated for the rest of his miserable life.
If you’ve made it this far, I’m sure you’re interested in Pickton’s methods of killing. Be aware that there is no confirmation on this as files regarding this case have not all been released, but there have been witnesses who claim that Pickton told them what he did his victims.
Evidence found around Pickton’s ‘workshop’ was perhaps the most grotesque. The DNA of 10 women were found on various items within the workshop, as well as the remains of the two women he was convicted of killing. Let me specify what I mean by remains: the skulls were cut in half and stuffed with the hands and feet of the victims shoved inside buckets in his freezer. Part of a jaw bone and a few teeth were found in Pickton’s slaughterhouse, belonging to Brenda Wolfe. Additionally, the remains of another victim were found shoved in a garbage bag, and the bloodied clothes of that same victim were found in Pickton’s trailer. The hands and wrist-bones of another victim were discovered among mud and pig manure in one of the pig pens. Disturbing shit, I know. More recent reports claim that DNA evidence of more than 30 different women has been recovered, which horrifically boosts Pickton’s kill count.
Another particularly disturbing object they found was a dildo shoved into .22 caliber revolver, containing the DNA of both Pickton and a female victim. I don’t really want to get into the theories around this, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to create nauseating images of what Pickton could have done with these items. And if you can’t but are absurdly still curious, Google it.
When questioned about these items, Pickton said he was using the dildo as a silencer.
W H Y.
Pickton says a lot of weird shit. He also lies a lot to authorities. But somehow him using a dildo as silencer for a gun is not the worst thing he could do with those two respective items. Which means he probably didn’t just use the dildo as a silencer. Which means he probably did something tremendously more disturbing.
Fantastic. Like we needed another reason to want to lock this guy in an old dumpster and launch it into the Sun.
THE WITNESSES A.K.A PICKTON’S EX-FRIENDS
The first witness I want to mention is former friend Andrew Bellwood, who testified at the stand that Pickton went into very graphic detail on how he committed the murders. Bellwood has a history with drug addiction, so the court was tentative in accepting his statement, but Bellwood swore he was not under any influence during his testimony. During an exchange in 1999, Bellwood was living on Pickton’s farm. Supposedly, one night Pickton suggested that they should get a prostitute (instead of ordering a pizza like regular bros I guess). Bellwood says he refused that offer, only for Pickton to respond “Do you know what I do with prostitutes?”
What follows is my retelling of Bellwood’s retelling of Pickton’s graphic descriptions of possible rape and definitive murder.
Inside the motorhome where Pickton allegedly first attacked these women, Bellwood and Pickton stood near the infamous mattress. Pickton reached under the mattress and pulled out three unusual items: handcuffs, a belt, and a wire. He then proceeded to explain in vulgar detail how he would lay the prostitutes on their stomachs, and have sex with them. It is not clarified whether or not it was consensual. Insinuating the women were uncomfortable, Pickton made a gesture as if to stroke a woman’s hair and stated that he told them “it was going to be okay” and “everything was all over now.”
That was when he would reach under the mattress and grab either the wire or belt before strangling the women to death. Once they were unconscious or dead, he would drag their body to his slaughter house where he would “bleed and gut them.” As if this wasn’t morbid enough, he added that he fed the mutilated bodies to his pigs, and whatever wasn’t eaten he tossed into barrels that shipped off to Vancouver.
“He commented on how much they bled,” Bellwood said.”He kept telling me, ‘Oh you know how much they bleed, you wouldn’t believe how much blood comes out of a person.'”
Other accounts claim that Pickton would put victims through a wood-chipper prior to feeding his pigs.
There were also rumors in 2004 that Pickton might have sold the flesh of his victims mixed with pig meat to the public. A food health and safety warning was issued that year.
Another former friend of Pickton’s claims to have been present while Pickton was butchering one of his victims. She claims to have seen a women hanging form a meat hook in Pickton’s barn early one morning. Lynn Ellingsen, who also had a history of drugs, stated that she had picked up a prostitute for Pickton and the morning after bore witness to a horrific site. She told the court that the drugs she took only numbed her, and did not evoke hallucinations of any kind. Allegedly, Pickton threatened that she’d “be right beside her” if she said anything about it. Pickton gave Ellingsen money for drugs at the time, so she said she did not want to betray his trust. Additionally, she admitted that she was scared of him so kept quiet. It is estimated that Ellingsen witnessed this event in 1999.
Finally, Gina Houston, a very close friend of Pickton’s, testified that he tried to convince her to commit a double suicide on his farm just days before he was arrested in 2002. He admitted to her that he did kill the six women of which he was accused of. Apparently he “didn’t want to go to jail.”
Pickton could have been locked up years earlier. In 1997, a woman that Pickton convinced to come back to his pig farm was attacked, and escaped. She relayed that when he attempted to handcuff and assault her, she grabbed a kitchen knife and fought back. She admitted that she tried to kill him in self defense that night, but failed. Both people sustained serious stab wounds in the conflict. The woman managed to break free from Pickton and ran to the nearest road, where she waved down a car and got her saviors to call an ambulance.
As luck would have it, Pickton went to the same hospital as the woman to be treated for his wounds. After the key for the handcuffs that were still on the woman’s wrist was found Pickton’s pocket, he was arrested and charged for attempted murder, assault with a weapon, and forcible confinement.
Unfortunately, the bastard’s charges were stayed and eventually dropped because the woman was a known drug addict and not considered a competent witness.
Pickton said she was a unruly hitchhiker who attacked him.
I can’t even imagine what went through that woman’s head when Pigton was finally arrested.
The issue with this case was that a lot of the witnesses were drug addicts, mostly because that’s what Pickton’s friends consisted of. Reports made on Pickton were often not investigated as they were written off due to the ‘incompetency’ of the sources. I suppose this raises questions regarding are criminal justice system, and whether or not all reports should be looked into, regardless of how valid you think they are/aren’t. What do you think?
Pickton may have only been convicted of 6 murders, but it is estimated he is responsible for over 20 more. These charges will not be pursued in court because he is already receiving maximum sentencing, and many of the victim’s families do not want to go through the stressful procedure of court trials. It should be recognized that many of his victims were indigenous women.
Pickton recently published a book that he apparently wrote in prison. The victim’s families urged the public to not purchase this book, with fair reason. He does not deserve the attention. I believe the book has been removed from shelves as of now due to all of the public outcry.
Thank you for reading, and don’t hesitate to drop a comment or question, or just a simple like if you are a minimalist. I want to emphasize that this is an enormous case, and I certainly didn’t cover all of the facts but I hope it painted a fair picture of serial killer Robert Pickton. Another thing that should be noted is that because this is such a popular and complex case, there is a lot of false information out there. I did my best to ensure my information was valid, but no one is perfect. I’m always open to corrections/comments.
As for now, see you next week. Stay safe this Halloween.