A Charlottetown judge has lifted the publication ban at the first-degree murder trial of John David Rayner, allowing the media to report that Rayner became the prime suspect in Chrystal Beairsto's slaying after his DNA popped up on a national databank.
Police zeroed in on Raynor two years after the 2002 slaying of Beairsto in the woods just off the Confederation Trail in Charlottetown. His DNA appeared in the databank because he had been ordered to provide a sample to police after being convicted of sexually assaulting his niece in Ontario.
Police allege that Rayner's DNA matched DNA found at the Beairsto crime scene, specifically on rope used to tie the 23-year-old woman's hands behind her back.
Until Supreme Court Justice Wayne Cheverie reversed the publication ban on Tuesday, the media had only been able to report on a single hour-longinterview Rayner did with police a few months before he was charged with first-degree murder—just one of 22 hours of videotaped interviews.
In the other tapes, whose contents can now be revealed, the police accuse Rayner at one point of revealing details about the slaying to a fellow inmate that only the killer could know; Rayner denies it. At another point, the police bring up abuse Rayner suffered as a child and allege it has a bearing on Beairsto's slaying.
The judge didn't say why he lifted the ban that had covered most of the proceedings during the five-day-old trial, which doesn't have a jury. The Guardian newspaper had filed papers with the court last week, indicating it would be challenging Cheverie's ban.
Alleged jailhouse confession 'bullshit,' Rayner says
Three police videotapes have been shown in court, two of them conducted while Rayner was behind bars in Ontario for the sexual assault of his niece.
'What happened to you as a child, has bred in you anger.' —Police officer
The third interview— which lasted six hours— was done at Charlottetown police headquarters when Rayner was arrested and charged for murder on Dec. 9, 2005.
During that interview, police told Rayner he had slipped up while behind in prison. They told him he had spoken with an inmate about the Beairsto murder and shared details only the killer would know — specifically, details about the scene of the crime and the way Beairsto was left to die.
"That's bullshit! That's bullshit!" Rayner shouted back at the investigators.
Rayner told the investigators he could not wait to go to court so he could prove his innocence.
Childhood abuse bred compassion, Rayner counters
During the interviews, police repeatedly attempt to get Rayner to confess to the Beairsto murder, and relate it back to abuse that Rayner suffered at age seven, when he wassexually abused by an older male relative.
At one point,officers suggest that something happened with Beairsto that triggered a flashback, that situation got out of hand, and before he knew what happened, Beairsto was dead. Then he panicked and ran, the police suggested.
"What happened to you as a child, has bred in you anger," said one investigator.
"No, it's bred in me compassion," Rayner replied.
He said he didn't like to think about how people died. "It gives me the willies.It's disgusting."
Had sex with niece out of revenge, Rayner says
On the tape, the officers accuseRayner of having sex with Beairsto beforekilling her. Raynerdenied that as well, saying he wasnot interested in girls andlikes guys.
Rayner told police he thought the reason he likes men is becauseof the abuse by theolder male relative.
Rayner said he told his sister, but she didn't do anything — so he laterhad sex with his sister's daughter out of revenge.
'I'm ashamed I hurt someone like that. I swore I'd never hurt anyone else.'— John Rayner
Rayner said he then told his sister, but she didn't do anything about it, so he figured he hadn't done anything wrong.
"I thought sex with anybody or anything was normal," he told investigators.
Rayner's niece eventuallypressed charges, and he was sentenced to 16 months for sexual assault. Rayner told investigators in jail he realized what happened to him was not normal.
"I'm ashamed I hurt someone like that. I swore I'd never hurt anyone else. I never did. I never will," he told police interviewing him.
He also told them thatfrom the age of 16 up until his 30s, he had sex with men for money. He kept moving from province to province, he said, because he didn't want his parents to know.
On the day he was to be released from jail for the assault on his niece, police arrested him for Beairsto's slaying. They brought him to the Charlottetown police station and questioned him for six hours.
In the interviews, Rayner adamantly denied hurting Beairsto, but his memory seemed to change from interview to interview.
In one, he told police he doesn't know whether he saw Beairsto that day. In another, he steadfastly insisted he did not. He said he recalled where he was, and who he was with, and was prepared to prove it in court.
"You can't sit there and deny and deny and deny," said Const. Arnold Murphy.
"Just watch me," Rayner replied.
The trial is to continue Wednesday morning.