Victim's father had 'no doubt' David Folker was the killer
Cries of relief and happiness were heard Friday evening in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court, as David Folker was read his guilty verdict.
Folker, originally from Hantsport, Nova Scotia, murdered Ann Marie Shirran in the couple's basement apartment in the St. John's neighbourhood of Kilbride on July 18, 2010.
For four weeks, Shirran's family sat through gruelling testimony, in hopes that the 12-person jury would side with the Crown in the case and convict Folker of second-degree murder.
The defence argued for a charge of manslaughter.
Jon Baggs, Shirran's father, told reporters that the pain of losing a child will never go away — but knowing that the man responsible is behind bars helps.
"People say the hurt gets better in time, but it doesn't, the hurt don't go away, you just learn to accept it more, but it never goes away," Baggs said.
It is even harder to accept for Baggs because he's been down this road before — he lost a son to a drunk driver years before daughter Ann Marie was murdered.
"It's been terrible. I lost a son before, you know, by a drunken driver and now to have this happen," Baggs said.
"I knew from the third day that she (Shirran) was gone," Baggs told reporters.
Baggs said he knew who had killed his daughter — David Folker.
"Never for a second was there any doubt."
For more than three years, Folker denied having any involvement in the death of his girlfriend. However, on the second day of his trial, Folker admitted Shirran died after the two fought and that he dumped her body in a wooded area near Cappahayden on the Southern Shore.
Never for a second was there any doubt.- Jon Baggs, Ann Marie Shirran's father
The Crown urged jurors to see through the lies that they said Folker was telling on the stand.
It was the Crown's theory that Folker had attacked Shirran from behind, then stomped on her head, resulting in two fractures to the densest part of her skull.
In the end, the eight women and four men sitting on the jury sided with the Crown.
Baggs said he was grateful. "I thank them. I think they saw through his lies and his plan B, and when I heard they were going back to hear Dr. Avis' testimony again about the [skull fractures], I thought 'they got it.'"
Folker and Shirran had a son together. He is now four years of age.
Baggs said he'll make sure Shirran's memory stays alive for her son.
"I'll be telling him what kind of a great woman she was, and she certainly loved him."
The jury also recommended a time when Folker should be eligible for parole, but the final decision will be made by Justice Wayne Dymond.
Second-degree murder carries a sentence of life in prison, however, the minimum parole eligibility is in ten years.
Baggs would prefer if Folker, 42, never gets granted parole.
"I don't think he should be allowed outside of any supervised spot again in his life ... not 25 years ... never," Baggs said.
"I think when they put him in, they should throw away the key."
Folker was also found guilty of interfering with a human body. That charge comes with a maximum of five years imprisonment.
Folker will be back in court on Dec. 4 for a sentencing hearing.