Edmonton

Sister of killer Thomas Svekla could be eligible for $100,000 reward

RCMP won't say whether Donna Parkinson is in line for a $100,000 reward offered by investigators, although prosecutors say she might be a hero for turning in her brother, Thomas Svekla, who was convicted this week of murder.

RCMP won't say whether Donna Parkinson is in line for a $100,000 reward offered by investigators, although prosecutors say she might be a hero for turning in her brother, Thomas Svekla, who was convicted this week of murder.

Parkinson tipped off police in May 2006 after she and her husband found a woman's body in a hockey bag that had been left at her home in Fort Saskatchewan, just outside Edmonton. The bag belonged to Svekla.

Donna Parkinson, Thomas Svekla's older sister, seen here at her court appearance in Feburary, has been called a 'hero' in the case against her brother for turning him in to police. ((CBC))

On Tuesday, a judge in Edmonton found Svekla guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Theresa Innes, a 36-year-old prostitute. He was also convicted of committing an indignity to a body.

However, the 40-year-old auto mechanic was found not guilty in the death of another prostitute, Rachel Quinney, 19, whose body was found in a field east of Edmonton in June 2004.

The charges were the first laid by Project Kare, a joint task force of the Edmonton city police and RCMP looking into the disappearances and deaths of more than 20 area women since 1983.

In June 2005, Project Kare offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person responsible for any of those deaths.

Crown prosecutor Ashley Finlayson Tuesday paid tribute to Parkinson's role in her brother's conviction.

"Donna Parkinson may be a hero in this case. It was Ms. Parkinson who made that phone call that set the wheels in motion that resulted in the arrest of Mr. Svekla."

Thomas Svekla, seen here in a court sketch, was convicted Tuesday of second-degree murder in the death of Theresa Innes, 36, whose body was found in a hockey bag in a Fort Saskatchewan home in May 2006. ((CBC))

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Wayne Oakes told CBC News Wednesday it's too early to talk about a reward in the case, because there could be an appeal. He also said privacy concerns may limit their ability to speak about a reward.

But he said Project Kare's work is far from over.

"Investigators at Project Kare have reason to believe that more than one person is responsible for more than one of the cases that is under their mandate. When you have an individual charged, that doesn't mean that your efforts are over."

Records of police interrogations released by the court show Svekla was told he was a suspect in other cases being investigated by Project Kare.

"It would be inappropriate to say whether that is still the case," Oakes said Tuesday.

Svekla's sentencing hearing begins in Edmonton on June 16.