Twitchell a liar, not a wannabe serial killer: lawyer
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, April 11, 2011 6:53PM EDT
EDMONTON - Just because amateur filmmaker Mark Twitchell lied repeatedly to friends, family and police doesn't mean his version about the death and dismemberment of a stranger in his garage is also a lie, his lawyer said Monday.
Charles Davison, in his closing address to jurors, said Twitchell's case is like the story of the boy who cried wolf.
Yes, said Davison, the story was about a shepherd who falsely claimed so many times that a wolf attack was imminent that none of the villagers would come to help him when it occurred for real.
But a trial is different, he told the six-man, six-woman jury.
"You don't have the luxury of saying, 'You (the accused) have lied too many times. We can ignore what you're saying now,"' Davison said in Court of Queen's Bench.
"I have no doubt in my mind you're suspicious," he added.
"But you simply can't be certain what happened that night of Oct. 10 in that garage."
Twitchell, 31, is accusing of the first-degree murder of Johnny Altinger, 38, in the fall of 2008. He has pleaded not guilty.
But he admitted on the stand last week that he lured Altinger to a rented garage on Edmonton's south side to be part of a hoax to help sell a short slasher movie Twitchell had just made.
Instead, he testified, Altinger became upset when he was told he'd been tricked. They fought, Twitchell said, and he knifed him in the heart in self-defence. Then, in a panic, he cut up the body, tried to burn the remains in a barrel, but ended up dumping them down a sewer.
Crown prosecutor Avril Inglis in her closing address, told the jury that nothing Twitchell said on the witness stand is credible.
The Crown filed evidence that Twitchell lured two men to the garage in the span of eight days by pretending to be a blind date they'd met on the Internet.
The first man managed to fight back and escape while the second -- Altinger -- was clubbed on the head with a metal pipe and knifed to death.
Inglis pointed out that Twitchell himself doesn't dispute he used a web of falsehoods to loved ones and police to avoid being caught. There were small white lies, she said, and elaborate hoaxes such as when he hired an actor to convince his suspicious wife that he wasn't surfing the web for mistresses.
"He's used lies to accomplish his goals," said Inglis.
"He doesn't even see the point to telling the truth."
She noted that Twitchell even lied to a police officer while getting a speeding ticket unrelated to the case.
Both sides agree it all boils down to a 42-page document found by police on Twitchell's computer titled "SKConfessions." Twitchell said the SK could stand for serial killer but also referred to his writing hero, horror author Stephen King.
The document, written by Twitchell, recounts the turbulent weeks surrounding the attack on the first man and the death of Altinger.
It starts out: "This is the story of my progression into becoming a serial killer. The names and events were altered slightly to protect the guilty."
Twitchell said some of the events are true but the key ones -- the death of Altinger and the murderous intent in the attack on the first man -- are pure literary licence.
But Inglis pointed out that all the evidence presented by witnesses and forensic experts matches perfectly with what happened in SKConfessions.
It's all true, she argued.
"This was never meant to be read by anybody but himself," she said.
"It's not a plan for a movie or a book on an online urban legend (as Twitchell has testified). The plan was to become a serial killer and nothing else."
Court heard during the trial that Twitchell had a fascination with Dexter Morgan, a fictional character in books and on TV, who worked by day as a police blood spatter analyst, but killed in the name of vigilante justice by night.
Altinger's mother, sitting in the front row of the packed courtroom, began to cry when Inglis recounted what she said were Altinger's last moments, as related in SKConfessions.
"The room filled with the echo of the pipe crashing into the back of his skull," Inglis read aloud as Twitchell, sitting at the defence table, looked straight ahead and didn't move.
"I blasted him so hard blood spattered everywhere.
"I plunged the knife deep into his neck ... (and) let him bleed out right there on the floor.
"I got his dead carcass up on that table, and I figured that since I went through all this trouble and made all this mess I would have to clean up.
"I got my game-processing kit out."
The jury was expected to begin deliberations Tuesday after Justice Terry Clackson explains to them how to apply the law in this case.