Fred Prosser is charged with first-degree murder in the 2010 death of Sabrina Patterson. (CBC)

The jury in Fred Prosser's first-degree murder trial heard closing arguments from the Crown and defence on Friday morning.

The seven men and five women will have the weekend off, then Justice George Rideout will give his instructions on Monday before they begin deliberations.

Prosser, 33, of Shenstone, is charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and sexual assault in the 2010 death of Sabrina Patterson, his ex-girlfriend.

Patterson, a 25-year-old mother of two from Riverview, went missing on Oct. 29, 2010. Her body was discovered eight days later in a wooded area near Shenstone.

Defence lawyer Scott Fowler contends the Crown did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and urged the jury to find his client not guilty of all charges.

He questioned why physical evidence wasn't presented during the six-day trial and why no time of death was given, despite the fact that an entomologist had been called in to examine insects from the bag Patterson's body was transported in to try to determine the time of death.

Fowler also suggested that Patterson's body was placed in the woods off the Shaw Road after Prosser was already in custody. If it had been there for seven days, why wasn't she found earlier by the numerous search parties in the area and why wasn't she ravaged by animals, he asked.


Sabrina Patterson's body was found under a garbage bag in a wooded area a few kilometres from Fred Prosser's home on Nov. 6, 2010. ((Sabrina Patterson memorial site))

The defence also challenged the DNA evidence, the lynchpin of the Crown's case. Patterson's blood was found on Prosser's jeans and in the bed of his truck and Prosser's DNA was found on Patterson's body.

But Fowler argued DNA can survive a washing machine and there's no way to tell the age of DNA. It could have been there from before, he said, noting Prosser and Patterson had an on-again, off-again relationship for several years.

They were in constant contact, said Fowler. A week before Patterson went missing, she called Prosser, asking him to pick her up from the Rocking Rodeo, he said.

There was a clear pattern of Patterson initiating contact and Prosser responding, said Fowler.

On Oct. 30, the two were supposed to meet up to have sex, but Patterson never showed, he said.

Crown witnesses said Prosser appeared upset at work the next day but that was because he was up all night and having personal problems, said Fowler. Prosser was questioning where he stood in the relationship, he said.

Although the Crown has suggested Prosser went missing for a couple of days after Patterson went missing because he was scared, Fowler argued he was emotional about Patterson's disappearance.

The lawyer was also dismissive of Crown evidence about a cooler being found outside a garage on the Prosser family property in June 2011. The cooler contained a jacket with the name Sabrina on the arm, an open purse and a pair of sneakers.

"Why leave clothes around the house, waiting for someone to find them eight months later?" he asked.

Prosser doesn't have to prove anything, stressed Fowler, who did not call any witnesses or present any evidence. "Think this through," he told the jury.

'Incriminating evidence'

Prosecutor Marc Savoie, however, contends the Crown has proven all of the elements for all three charges, after calling nearly 40 witnesses.

The evidence points to Prosser — no one else, he said. And there is proof Prosser planned it and committed it during a sexual assault, making it the more serious first-degree murder charge, not second-degree or manslaughter, he said.

Savoie noted Prosser had told police he last texted Patterson the day before she disappeared, but later admitted it was the night she went missing.

Semen found on Patterson's body was consistent with Prosser's DNA, he said.

A pathologist testified that Patterson was brutally sexually assaulted, likely with a blunt object, and manually strangled to death.

Prosser was not acting overly concerned when he found out she was missing, said Savoie.

The prosecutor also raised the testimony of several witnesses, who said Prosser had talked about harming Patterson, even seeing his hands around her neck.

"Very incriminating evidence," said Savoie.

Crystal Doiron said Prosser kept saying, "Something bad is going to happen" and a Dooley's employee told the court Prosser had said, "I could kill her," referring to an unnamed ex. Prosser said, "I could get away with it — there's lots of woods around my house," the witness testified.

Another Dooley's employee testified that Prosser had said he could "bury that bitch" and that he'd be better off without her.

In addition, cell phone records show Prosser was in regular contact with Patterson during the month of October, but all communication stopped on Oct. 30, said Savoie.

He suggested Prosser never tried to call or text message Patterson after was missing because he knew she wouldn't answer.

Savoie downplayed evidence about the RCMP not finding the cooler containing Sabrina's jacket for seven months because they only searched the inside of the Prosser family's house, two garages and two sheds on Nov. 7, not the outside property.

He said that was due to a lack of communication and experience by the police officers involved in the original search. The trial is not a hearing about good police work, he stressed.

The prosecutor also dismissed the fact that some of the evidence in the case went missing for several months and only reappeared 10 days before the trial began on Nov. 21.

Prosser's DNA was located in an envelope in a secure fridge. Police had been looking for a box, he said.