Calgary

Ryan Lane murder trial jury on break until Friday, told case took 'unexpected turn'

The jury was told the Ryan Lane murder trial had taken an "unexpected turn" after the prosecution rested its case on Monday, and the panel of 12 men and women were told not to come back until Friday.

Defence lawyers to make motions this week that will be protected by a publication ban

The jury in the Ryan Lane murder trial has been told to return to court on Friday. (Submitted by Ryan Lane's family)

The jury was told the Ryan Lane murder trial had taken an "unexpected turn" after the prosecution rested its case on Monday, and the panel of 12 men and women were told not to come back until Friday.

Sheena Cuthill, her husband Tim Rempel and his brother Wilhelm are charged with first-degree murder, accused of killing Ryan Lane in 2012 after he began fighting for visitation rights with the child he shared with Cuthill.

The jury was told that the defence will make motions on Wednesday before Justice Alan Macleod. Those motions will be protected by a publication ban and the jury will not be told what is going on.

"These cases sometimes take unexpected turns," said Macleod. "The good news is, you're going to have a break, enjoy the good weather."

The jury has heard three weeks of evidence since the trial began on March 14.

The prosecution's theory is that Cuthill and the Rempel brothers began plotting Lane's death when he started court proceedings to get visitations with his daughter. 

The Crown said in its opening statement to the jury that it would present evidence that Cuthill gave the "Okay" to her husband for the brothers to kidnap and kill Lane.

Court was shown video of a man who the Crown says is Wilhelm Rempel washing a red pickup truck on Feb. 7 (Court evidence)

Summary of Crown's evidence:

  • Text messages between Sheena Cuthill and her husband Tim Rempel show the planning of Lane's killing months before he disappeared, according to the prosecution.
  • Ryan Lane's DNA was found in both brothers' vehicles (red Jeep and red truck) despite each telling police they'd never met Lane.
  • Two vehicles matching those of the Rempel brothers were spotted on video surveillance in the parking lot where Lane was last seen by his father who said he got into the red pick-up truck. 
  • The brothers' cell phones were found to have pinged off cell towers in an area near Beiseker which led to a months-long search of a 13,000-acre area and eventually, the discovery of a burn barrel with human remains inside.
  • Ryan Lane's class ring and pieces of his cell phone were discovered in a burn barrel near Beiseker along with human remains. 
  • Wilhelm Rempel was seen on video surveillance pressure washing the inside and outside of his red pickup truck the day after Lane disappeared. A card for the car wash was found inside his home.
  • A scrap yard employee testified that Wilhelm Rempel sold his truck — which appeared to be in working condition — for $130 to be used as scrap despite an offer of $500 by the employee.
  • Wiretap phone calls between the three accused and various others were entered as exhibits including one where Wilhelm Rempel tells his brother he "won't break for nothing," after police interrogated him for three hours. 

It remains unclear if the defence will call any witnesses, including the accused, when the jury is back on Friday.

Wilhelm Rempel, Sheena Cuthill and Tim Rempel are all accused of murdering Ryan Lane because he wanted visitation rights with the daughter he and Cuthill shared. (CBC/Global)

now