Hitchhikers' bodies cremated, pulverized: expert

Murder trial hears evidence from forensic anthropologist into murders of hitchhikers

A forensic anthropologist told a murder trial Tuesday that the bodies of two hitchhikers were cremated in a bonfire, then the bones were pounded into pieces as small as 25-cent coins.

Dr. Scott Fairgrieve was testifying at the trial of Robert Armstrong, 24, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Melody Lopez and second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend Shawn Barrett.

Lopez, 21, who was five months pregnant when last seen in August 1999, is from Columbus, Ohio. Barrett, 21, was from Nepean, Ont.

Witnesses have testified at the trial that Armstrong picked up Lopez and Barrett when they were hitchhiking near Brampton, Ont., then invited them to his family's cabin.

A cousin of the accused testified Monday that Armstrong shot the couple, then tossed their bodies in a fire in a circular pit. He also said Armstrong shot the couple's dog.

Fairgrieve, of Laurentian University in Sudbury, excavated three sites near the Armstrong cabin in December 1999. He said he found 2,401 grams of cremated bones and teeth, along with zipper fragments and rings from backpacks.