A textile and fibre expert testified today that a piece of black cloth found in a camper trailer in Pictou County matched a sweater worn by Amber Kirwan, a 19-year-old New Glasgow woman who was killed more than two years ago.
Steven Pitts was a Crown witness on Tuesday as Christopher Alexander Falconer's first-degree murder trial continues into its third week.
The 31-year-old man has pleaded not guilty in Kirwan's death.
The trailer where the black cloth was found is the same one searched by police after Kirwan's disappearance. Police also found duct tape. The camper property is owned by Falconer's stepsister Alice Meier.
Pitts, who works for the RCMP at a national forensics centre in Edmonton, said the black sweater was tied around Kirwan's wrists when the 19-year-old woman's remains were found in a shallow grave in November 2011.
Pitts said he also tested the fibres of a blue blanket found in the trailer and compared it to blue fibres found on a bloody black tank top found in Falconer's car.
He said he believes the fibres matched but that test wasn't conclusive.
Defence lawyer Mike Taylor had particular concern with that piece of evidence.
"It's not necessarily fibres from the blanket," said Taylor. "It's fibres similar to what you would find on the blanket were also found on the tank top but those kinds of fibres come from various sources."
Cell phone data analyzed
Robert Aboumitri, an intelligence analyst from Widnsor, Ont., who specializes in analyzing communications data, also took the stand on Tuesday.
He analyzed Falconer's phone calls in the early hours of Oct. 9, 2011.
Aboumitri said in his professional opinion, Falconer was in downtown New Glasgow at 1:45 a.m. and moving toward the Pictou area by 2 a.m. That's the period of time when Falconer couldn't be reached, and when Kirwan disappeared.
"So when the accused says that he's at his father's, which is near the Pictou tower site, and the expert is able to say that particular text message registered at that particular site — the tower evidence and the text messages are corroborative of each other," said Crown counsel Patrick Young.
The defence also took issue with the evidence, arguing that cell tower signals can be hard to pinpoint.
"You really can't tell. All you can tell is they appear to be in a general area but you can't say within any specific distance how accurate that location was," said Taylor.
Pitts and Aboumitri are among the final three witnesses for the Crown at Falconer's trial.
Next, it will be up to the defence to decide if anyone will testify. However, that won't happen until Thursday due to Wednesday's impending storm.
So far, Falconer's lawyer, Mike Taylor, has not said whether he plans to call anyone to the stand.