After five days of testimony, tissue boxes have been emptied at the murder trial of retired RCMP officer Keith Wiens, who is charged with killing Lynn Kalmring in August 2011.
Family members and supporters of Kalmring have sat for hours in the uncomfortable seats of the Kelowna courthouse, holding back sobs and wiping away tears which only intensified on Wednesday when the 9mm handgun used to shoot Kalmring was shown to the court.
The gun had been taken apart and swabbed for fingerprints following the crime, but all tests came back negative and the only DNA found on the knife discovered in Kalmring’s hand belonged to the deceased.
Under cross examination Cst. Darren Durnin, the officer in charge of seizing exhibits, was repeatedly grilled about possible conversations he took part in or overheard regarding the RCMP’s theory that the knife found in Kalmring’s hand had been placed there by Wiens.
Durnin repeatedly told the court he could not recall taking part in these talks, nor could he recall if these possible conversations had taken place in the company of the coroner.
The same questions were asked of Cpl. Jason Burndred, who confirmed the RCMP’s theory. During testimony he also told the court that he had asked for an opinion on whether it was believed the knife was placed in Kalmring’s hand after she was shot. But during the autopsy that took place in Kamloops, Burndred says anatomical pathologist Gilles Molgat could not give an opinion one way or the other. It was also asked if Molgat made mention that a person will sometimes grasp onto an object when experiencing a sudden death, and Burndred responded that was his understanding of the conversation.
The tears continued to flow when Molgat took the stand and went over his findings from the autopsy performed three days after the shooting. This testimony included vivid descriptions of Kalmring’s body and X-rays of her head showing where the bullet entered the skull. Many of Kalmring’s supporters were forced to look away when the X-rays were held up, unable to bear the sight.
Molgat told the court that Kalmring’s cause of death was determined to be a single, low-velocity gunshot wound to the head. The bullet entered the left side of Kalmring’s face, immediately adjacent to her nostril and did not exit. In his opinion, the bullet traveled in a straight line, leaving a path of lead fragments before lodging itself in her skull.
The trial is expected to last at least another week.