LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A macabre picture began to emerge Wednesday at a triple-murder trial with the Crown telling a jury the suspect confessed to police that he killed all three victims: a father and daughter and a senior.
Derek Saretzky is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Terry Blanchette, who was 27, two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.
The Crown said in its opening statement that Saretzky had inside knowledge of the deaths in September 2015.
"He provided details to the police that only the killer would know,'' prosecutor Photini Papadatou told the jury.
Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette were found dead in September 2015. (Photo: Facebook)
Jurors also heard that Saretzky took police to a remote area where the girl's remains were found in a campsite fire pit.
Saretzky, 24, is also charged with committing an indignity to the girl's body. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Papadatou said Blanchette's body was found in his Blairmore, Alta., home by his father, who let himself into the house after failing to get hold of his son for hours.
"William Blanchette found his son's body in the main bathroom of his residence lying in a pool of blood. He was clothed and partially covered with a blanket,'' said Papadatou.
Blanchette's throat had been cut.
Derek Saretzky pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder. (Photo: Facebook)
An agreed statement of facts presented by the Crown said there were bloody smears on the floor leading from the master bedroom to the bathroom, as well as blood in the bedroom itself.
"Blood smears were located throughout the Blanchette residence, including the door to his bedroom, on a doll found in a crib and on a blanket which was also in the crib.''
Saretzky gave officers a re-enactment
After his initial confession to police, Saretzky took officers to the campsite, which is partially owned by a family member, and re-enacted what he had done to the girl, said Papadatou.
The agreed statement said several bones, a knife, a hatchet and burned material were found in the firepit. A metal pot and a yellow child's toy nearby tested positive for Hailey's blood.
Court heard a search of Saretzky's apartment found a number of books, including one on cannibalism, and another on serial killers. A measuring cup was recovered that had Saretzky's blood in it.
Saretzky is also charged in the death of Hanna Meketech. (Photo: Alberta RCMP)
Police found a notepad which in part read "Chy'' — the nickname for Hailey's mother — "Terry'' and "The hideous baby.''
All had been crossed out.
No possible motive for the killings emerged from the agreed facts.
Papadatou said the case started as two separate investigations: one into the death of Meketech, whose body was found five days earlier, and one into Blanchette's slaying.
His daughter was missing when his body was discovered and RCMP quickly realized they needed more help in an all-out effort to find Hailey alive, the prosecutor said.
"These are good and decent people."
An Amber Alert that extended across Western Canada and into the United States was issued, but the child was found dead a few days later.
Papadatou said Saretzky's family came forward to help.
"These are good and decent people,'' she told the jury.
The Crown is expected to call just over 30 witnesses and enter 38 exhibits as evidence.
Police have said Saretzky and Blanchette were acquaintances, but have not elaborated on how the two men knew each other. The little girl's mother has described Saretzky as an old friend whom she hadn't spoken to in years.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
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