Butorac’s murder convictions set aside

Aldergrove man was convicted in 2010 of murdering two sex trade workers. New trials have been ordered.

Davey Butorac has been granted new trials, after winning an appeal of his conviction of murdering two sex trade workers. The Aldergrove man had been found guilty in 2010 of murdering Gwendolyn Lawton, 46,  of Abbotsford in March 2007 and Sheryl Koroll, 50, of Langley on July 7, 2007.

The B.C. Court of Appeal judgment was released on Thursday. Legal arguments were made in court on June 12.

Lawton’s body was found on March 13, 2007 in a rural area of Abbotsford, while Koroll’s body was found in an industrial area of Langley City in the morning of July 7, 2007. She had been seen alive a few hours earlier.

The convictions were set aside by the appeals court on the basis that the trial judge erred in accepting “the evidence of each murder as similar fact evidence with respect to the other.” Butorac’s lawyer had argued before the initial trial that the two counts should be separated, but the judge disagreed.

The Court of Appeal website says “The murders occurred four months apart. The trial judge found the victims had some similar personal characteristics, their bodies were left in similar positions, and both were brutally beaten.

“Both parties and the trial judge agreed, however, that these features alone were insufficient to constitute the high degree of similarity required for the admission of similar fact evidence. The critical factor was that the DNA or blood of both victims had been found in a Chevrolet Cavalier owned and driven exclusively by the appellant (Butorac).

“There was persuasive evidence the vehicle had been involved in the death of one victim. With respect to the second victim, the trial judge recognized the evidence was not as conclusive, but decided that two objects found in the vehicle had the same characteristics as “patterned” injuries observed on the victim, and that the presence of her blood and DNA without innocent explanation indicated she had been in the Cavalier in close proximity to her death.”

The appeals court says the trial judge erred in concluding the evidence met the high standard of striking similarity, required to justify the admission of similar fact evidence. It ordered new trials on both murder charges.

Butorac is also due in court on a third murder charge, likely in early 2014. He is charged with murdering Margaret Redford of Aldergrove in 2006.

Jury selection for the trial had been planned in February, but was postponed until November.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Plea deal results in guilty plea in fatal Langley shooting in 2017

First degree murder charge amended to conspiracy to commit murder

Surrey Langley SkyTrain moves forward with third round of public engagement

TransLink is seeking input on new station designs and construction management plans

Virus prompts Langley Camera Club members to refocus

Technology has kept local shutterbugs connected and broadened their horizons

Langley-based charity Wellspring encourages virtual participation for Lake2Lake ride this weekend

Annual 200 km cycle across the Okanagan and Shuswap raises funds for Rwanda relief

Altercation with gunfire in Langley lands two in hospital

Quiet area of Brookswood was awoken at 5 a.m. Friday morning to a fight involving gun shots

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read