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Kelowna  

Moments before death

The last moments of Chris Ausman's life were shown in Kelowna court Friday, during the third day of his accused killer's trial.

Steven Pirko was charged with second-degree murder in November 2016, almost three years after the body of Ausman was found on the south side of Highway 33 near Rutland Road. An autopsy determined the 32-year-old father was killed by a hammer strike to the head.

Surveillance footage from the Olympia Greek Taverna restaurant, facing east down Highway 33, was shown at the trial Friday. While a short clip from the video was shown Thursday, a full six minutes was shown Friday.

In the video, two men, one bald and one wearing a backwards baseball hat, slowly walk east along the sidewalk outside the restaurant at 1:37 a.m. The pair, identified by police as Pirko and his friend Elrich Dyck, get closer to the intersection with Rutland Road and farther from the camera before they appear to slow down and turn their attention across the highway. 

In his opening statement to the jury on Wednesday, Crown prosecutor David Grabavac said Pirko and Dyck had been drinking that night at a birthday party, and Dyck had been looking to pick a fight with people on the street.

In the video, after Dyck and Pirko appear to speak briefly with someone across the street, the third man runs across the street at 1:39 a.m. That third man was identified by police as Ausman. The three then disappear off camera, where the Crown says a fight between Dyck and Ausman occurred.

The Crown alleges after Dyck began losing the fight, Pirko struck Ausman in the head with a hammer he had been carrying. This wasn't captured on the surveillance footage.

As the video played in court, several of Ausman's family members wiped tears from their eyes.

Surveillance footage from inside the 7-Eleven on Highway 33 and Rutland Road was also shown in court, taken about 45 minutes after Ausman's death.

It shows Pirko and Dyck purchasing something from the counter and leaving. Notably, an RCMP officer is seen leaving the convenience store just two minutes before the pair approach the counter.

The trial will resume next week, with Dyck expected to testify for the Crown.



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