Category: Serial Killing
Date: 1997 - 2001
Crime: Found guilty in the deaths of six women, although he has been accused of killing at least 20 other prostitutes and drug dealers. Pickton himself, claims to have killed upwards of 49 others.
Biography: Robert Pickton, known as 'Willie' to his friends, was born on October 26, 1949 on a family farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C.. He was the middle child, with an older sister and younger brother. His childhood was fairly nondescript and he made his living working the farm, buying and butchering the pigs as well as having an interest in refurbishing cars he had bought for scrap. Pickton and his brother inherited the pig farm after his father died in 1978 followed by the death of their mother in 1979. By the mid-1990's, their land was highly sought after and they parceled out large chunks and sold to both developers and the Port Coquitlam school district alike. In 1995, prostitutes from Vancouver's red-light district began to go missing at an alarming rate. By 1997, Pickton was already on the authorities radar as a suspect in the disappearances, however no evidence could tie him to any crimes. Pickton was known to local prostitutes as a 'rough' date. Robert and his brother had previously set up a non-profit, fundraising organization called 'Piggy's Palace' and many events were held in a hangar-like tin structure on the farm. Witnesses claim that there was a lot of drug use and debauchery going on during these fund-raising events, but since they were well-attended by local politicians and other members of prominent society, nothing was done about it. In February 2002, police executed a search warrant for illegal firearms for the 'Piggy Place' property. Pickton was taken into custody and a subsequent search warrant was executed for evidence with regard to dozens of missing prostitutes. DNA evidence uncovered at the scene was overwhelming as police found up to 30 distinct samples from missing women. They surmised that the bodies had been butchered, left to decompose or fed to the hungry pigs directly.
During the trial, in August of 2006, the Chief Justice trimmed the murder indictment down to just six victims in order to ease the burden on the jury charged with deciding the case. In December 2007, the jury returned a guilty verdict to Pickton on six count's of second degree murder, resulting in a life sentence. Authorities in Canada, to this day, are still determining whether or not to bring charges against him for the other 20+ victims that are attributed to him.