Video of Verma shown at trial
Sep 23, 2013 / 9:20 pm
While speaking to police in the days after Brittney Irving’s disappearance, Joelon Verma told officers that she was stressed out and doing a lot of drugs, but was otherwise a good person.
In a video that lasted nearly 20 minutes, Verma was shown speaking with Cst. Fred Coon at the Kelowna RCMP detachment, where he gave a formal statement on April 13, 2010.
Verma began by telling Coon that he had known Irving for a couple of weeks, and that on the day of her disappearance she was supposed to come to his cousins house and sell him a couple pounds of marijuana, but she never showed up.
In the video, Verma says they had gone out for beers a few times and that she was partying hard and doing a lot of cocaine before she disappeared. When they talked, Verma says she was always stressed out about owing people money, after police shut down her grow-op.
Verma is shown wearing a long sleeved white hoodie in the video, and calmly leaning back against a wall as Coon asks him about Irving and their relationship. Verma admits to texting her on April 6, expecting her to show up with a sample, but says she stopped texting around noon and never responded when he tried to contact her again between 3 and 4 p.m. that same afternoon.
The following day, Verma says Irving’s brother Joze MacCulloch called asking where she was, and he told him he did not know.
After a short break in the video, in which Coon says he left the room to monitor Verma’s behavior, the interview resumed with questions about the supposed deal.
Verma replied the deal was for two pounds of “purple kush”, but he was unsure where Irving got the marijuana or who she was working for at the time.
At this point of the interview Verma grew alarmed, saying Irving would call from private phone numbers and swearing upon his children that he would tell officers if he knew more. Throughout the interview, Verma told Coon that he was at his cousin’s house awaiting Irving’s arrival. It was at this point that Coon praised Verma, saying that everyone else the police had spoken with had alibis, and it was good for Verma that he had someone to back up his claims.
The crown has said that Verma’s cousin, Jason Labonte, led police out to the site near where Irving’s body was found. He is scheduled to testify later in this trial.
When Coon asked Verma what he thought happened to Irving, he sidestepped the question and instead implied that someone may have collected on a debt, alluding to the fact that she had been stressed out and owed a lot of money.
“Take if from there, you know how it works,” Verma told police.
During the interview, he also told police that although he had asked around, no one knew where Irving was -- before lamenting that Kelowna is a dangerous place and now, “innocent people start getting killed.”
Verma also expressed concern for his own family, telling police he feared reprisals against his wife and kids if anyone believed he was behind the disappearance of the marijuana. He concluded the interview by telling police that he hoped the situation gets cleared up, and he will let them know if he hears anything.
Just over two-and-a-half months later, Verma was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. The crown alleges he killed Irving and dumped her body in the woods.
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