David Folker jury retired, to resume deliberations Friday

The jury in the David Folker second-degree murder trial requested on Thursday to review of certain testimony and exhibits during their deliberations.

Jury in murder trial told to use common sense during deliberations

David Folker was charged with second-degree murder in the 2010 death of his girlfriend, Ann Marie Shirran. (CBC)

The Supreme Court jury in the David Folker second-degree murder trial requested on Thursday to review certain testimony and exhibits during their deliberations.

After submitting questions to Justice Wayne Dymond in the afternoon, the jury returned to deliberations in the evening.

They ended deliberations around 6:30 p.m. NT, but are set to return to task on Friday morning.

The Supreme Court judge instructed the jury to weigh Folker's credibility when they determine whether or not he is guilty of second-degree murder in the 2010 death of Ann Marie Shirran. 

Dymond gave his instructions to the jury before their deliberations begin, with the debate expected to focus on whether Folker intended to kill Shirran, Folker's girlfriend and the mother of his son.

Dymond said the jury must decide whether Folker is guilty of manslaughter or of second-degree murder.

The defence has argued that Folker, 42, a former Nova Scotia resident, is guilty of manslaughter in the death of Shirran in their apartment in the Kilbride neighbourhood of St. John's in July 2010. 

According to Dymond, the jury needs to decide how credible Folker is, and that there are a number of questions the jurors must ask themselves, such as whether or not Folker seemed honest during his testimony.

Dymond emphasized multiple times that common sense needs to be exercised while they deliberate.

According to Dymond, the jury's "first duty is to decide what the facts are in this case." He said it was not their duty to sentence, rather to discuss and listen, and to reach an agreement.

Letter to friend used as evidence

He said jurors will need to decide whether or not they believe that Shirran told Folker she would be taking full custody of their baby, and that a letter Folker wrote to his friend after Shirran was reported missing may be used to determine motive.

In the letter, Folker said Shirran's disappearance was "like Satan answered my prayers."

"She (Shirran) had a serious mental illness," Folker said in the letter, which was found in his RAV 4 during a police search in late August 2010.

Folker said in the letter that he could not stand the sight of Shirran, but stayed with her for the sake of their child.

In the letter, Folker said that he was innocent and had begun to pray that he would be able to return home to raise his son.

Folker asked his friend not to respond by mail or home phone because he was being watched, and he couldn't have police knowing that he wanted to return home to Nova Scotia.

3 requirements cited for 2nd-degree murder

The Crown had to satisfy three requirements for it to be second-degree murder, Dymond said. They had to determine that Folker caused Shirran's death, that he committed an unlawful act when he threw Shirran, and that Folker intended to kill Shirran.

Dymond said the third requirement, whether the intent to murder was there, is what jurors will deliberate.

He said any of Folker's actions after Shirran's death cannot be used as evidence of intent. However, he said, jurors can consider any evidence leading up to her death.

The Crown and defence presented starkly different accounts of how Shirran died. 

The Crown said Folker intended to kill Shirran during a quarrel, and alleged that Folker stomped on her head repeatedly in her final moments. The Crown also pointed out that Folker repeatedly lied to police, going so far as to name a suspect they should pursue.

The defence, however, said that while Folker lied to police, he did not intend to kill Shirran. The defence also admitted Wednesday that Folker is guilty of a second charge, of interfering with a human body. 

Folker admitted that he took Shirran's body from the apartment and drove down the highway along Newfoundland's Southern Shore before he dumped her remains in a remote area near Cappahayden. 

CBC News reporter Ariana Kelland filed updates from the courtroom.