KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A B.C. Supreme Court jury needed barely five hours to reach its verdict in the case of a Terrace man charged with murdering his teenage girlfriend.
Damien Taylor, 24, has been convicted of the second-degree murder of 16-year-old CJ Fowler, who learned she was pregnant just hours before she was found dead.
Taylor told his trial in Kamloops that he and Fowler had travelled to that city from Terrace to sell drugs and had used considerable amounts of crystal meth in the week before the teen was killed on Dec. 12, 2012.
Court heard dog walkers found Fowler's body in the Guerin Creek area with a concrete block on her chest. A pathologist testified she choked to death when her tongue became trapped in her airway after at least one blow to her head and face.
Fowler's mother Matilda Fowler expressed relief at the verdict outside court.
"I want to scream so loud and cry at the same time," said Fowler, who lives in Prince George and attended the two and a half week trial with her son.
“I just don’t want any other mothers going through what I went through. I want to find answers for the other missing and murdered women, but I don’t know how to do that. I know a lot of them are missing their daughters and have no answers. I have answers and he’s going to jail.”
The trial heard Taylor, then 21, and his young girlfriend, were inseparable. Fowler asked her stepfather to treat Taylor as family. He called him Poppa.
“I also want to say sorry to Damien’s family,”
Fowler's mother said outside court.Several of Taylor’s family members attended the trial but declined to speak with reporters following the verdict.
Court heard the couple was seen arguing after leaving a hospital, where Fowler had been treated for chest pains related to drug use. An emergency room doctor testified he told the couple Fowler was pregnant and they seemed to welcome the news.
Taylor testified he and Fowler walked to a nearby park afterwards but he blacked out and then panicked and fled to Prince George after waking to find Fowler's beaten body beside him.
He'd also told police that he left the hospital without Fowler because he couldn't find her and then took a Greyhound bus to Prince George as they'd planned but she didn't show up.
Mounties initially interviewed Taylor as a witness and seized evidence from his hotel room, including a pair of socks with Fowler's blood on them. They also discovered the SD card from her cell phone in his backpack, and her phone atop the RCMP detachment's roof near the hotel.
Taylor was arrested and charged 13 months after Fowler's body was found and eventually told police he killed Fowler by accident. That admission came following hours of questioning and after Fowler's stepfather was brought into the interview room.
Taylor also said then that he was trying to "scare her in a funny way" and cut her throat."She was bleeding out of her throat," he told RCMP in a video shown in court. He also said he used "the boulders that were there" to end her suffering.
However, Taylor later testified that he was forced to make a false confession.
A second-degree murder conviction carries a life sentence.
A date has not yet been set for a judge to determine Taylor's parole eligibility. (CFJC, KamloopsThis Week)
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