The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says more arrests could be pending in the deaths of a couple last seen alive in 1993, while a man acquitted in one of Canada's most notorious murder trials is saying he has been set up for the double homicide.
Joseph Anthony Oliver, 37, was charged Saturday with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Dale Worthman and Kimberley Lockyer, who lived in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, on the outskirts of St. John's.
The RNC, which appealed for additional public assistance this weekend, has confirmed there are more suspects in the case.
Shannon Murrin— who had had numerous run-ins with the law before being found not guilty in 2000 in British Columbia of the murder of Mindy Tran— believes he is one of them.
After he was cleared in the high-profile Tran case, Murrin moved back to Newfoundland and Labrador, to make a fresh startas awoodworker.
However, in the past six months, Murrin said, his past has come back to haunt him.
"Obviously, I'm an easy target," said Murrin, who like Oliver lives in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's.
Murrin said that in July, Oliver fingered him in connection with the murders of Lockyer and Worthman.
That month, police discovered bones of a man and woman off a dirt road in the community. Weeks later, forensic examination positively identified the remains as that of Lockyer and Worthman.
Murrin said police brought him in for questioning and took a DNA sample. He said he offered to take a polygraph test. Afterward, he said, his family and friends were questioned by police.
Murrin said he believes that his phones have been bugged.
The RNC is not commenting on the investigation or Murrin's part in it.
However, Murrin's name and that of his partner, Kathy MacDonald, whohad been a juror in the Tran trial,are among 11 people with whom Oliver has been instructed not to have contact, under a court order.
There have been no accusations against Murrin, who is nonetheless quick to declare his innocence. He also has strong words about Oliver.
"If Shannon Murrin took the trouble to dig two graves, why wouldn't he dig three graves? I mean that's only common sense," Murrin told CBC News.
"What, am I going to let a piece of garbage like him go around all out of it, all the time, saying things that can put me away for life? I never harmed anybody in my life with a weapon."
Remains found last summer
Until the discovery of human remains last summer, the Worthman-Lockyer case was considered a missing persons investigation.
Police had found bread in their apartment's toaster and cash conspicuously evident in their apartment.
The investigation was formally reclassified as a homicide case last summer.
Bob Buckingham, a St. John's criminal defence lawyer who represented Oliver at Saturday's court appearance, said he has yet to learn more about the case.
"We have not seen the complete disclosure yet, and so at this stage a plea of guilty or not guilty has not been entered, and we don't anticipate one being entered for quite some time to come," Buckingham said.
Buckingham will be seeking a bail hearing for Oliver, whose next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 20.