With no eye witness, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards said the Crown was relying on circumstantial evidence to show that Randy Martin unlawfully killed Sabrina Schirn on a day between 11 and 17 March 2009.
Summarising the case against Martin on Thursday morning, Ms Richards told Justice Charles Quin that 10 areas of fact would lead to the conclusion that Martin was guilty of murder.
Justice Quin, who heard the matter without a jury, said he would advise attorneys when he was ready to deliver his verdict.
The facts referred to by Ms Richards included scientific findings about blood and DNA, cell phone records and the car Ms Schirn had driven on 11 March being found near the back boundary of the prison farm in East End, where Martin worked as part of a party of prison inmates.
On Thursday afternoon, Defence Counsel David Evans pointed out that circumstantial evidence requires careful consideration.
Further, if the evidence can be interpreted in different ways, the court must interpret it in the way that is favourable to the defendant. Mr. Evans said there were gaps in the Crown’s case that could only be filled by speculating.
The Crown’s case is that Martin met Ms Schirn a little to the west of the farm and they then drove east and south, ending up near a shed off High Rock Road. There Martin used a machete to inflict a series of wounds that cumulatively were fatal.
He then drove the car north and parked it off a track roughly parallel with the back boundary of the farm and then made his way to the farm by foot. Officers had traced the route and timed it: 17 minutes from the site where Ms Schirn’s body was found to the tomato patch Martin was supposed to have been working in.
One of the prison officers had said Martin was missing from the farm up to 45 minutes at a time that morning.
Mr. Evans said Martin did leave the farm, but nowhere near as long as it would take to meet Ms Schirn, get her to drive to the right place, kill her, dispose of anything incriminating and then get back.
The glove Martin used for his work was found in the bush not far from where the car ended up. Ms Schirn’s blood and DNA were found inside some of the glove’s fingertips and her blood on the glove wristband.
Ms Richards said Martin’s explanation was incredulous. He said he always carried his glove with him. While he and Ms Schirn were engaging in sexual activity outside the car, his glove ended up on the back seat. She was menstruating at the time and picked up the glove to wipe herself.
But no woman would use a dirty glove to wipe herself intimately, Ms Richards contended, especially when there were articles of clothing in the car that could have been used.
She pointed out that blood matching Ms Schirn’s was found around the car’s ignition. This was consistent with her blood on the wrist of the glove.
As part of his response, Mr. Evans pointed out that there was no DNA in the car to show Martin’s presence before or after Ms Schirn was attacked.
Although it was not necessary to prove motive, Ms Richards said newspaper clippings in Martin’s cell showed as late as November 2008 that he was interested in the case of Sheldon Brown, who was convicted of attempting to murder Martin’s brother. Martin’s ex-girlfriend said he had told her Ms Schirn was involved in that shooting.
Mr. Evans said Martin did not have a motive but even if he did, so did Crown witness Lance Myles, a former boyfriend of Ms Schirn’s. Mr. Evans noted he had no instructions to say that Myles was the perpetrator
But Myles had lied to police about when he last saw Ms Schirn. There was a gap in the times of his phone activity that would have allowed him to commit the offence. Instructions had been given for his car and his mother’s car to be forensically examined, but this was never followed up.
There was no certainty to the Crown’s case and not enough to convict in light of the evidence gatherers’ failure to do things, Mr. Evans concluded.