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Trial of escaped inmates accused of killing Metchosin man moved to Vancouver

James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage had applied to the B.C. Supreme Court for the change of venue.
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Inmates James Busch, left, and Zachary Armitage are charged with killing a Metchosin man in July 2019 after escaping from William Head prison. VIA RCMP

The trial of two former William Head Institution inmates charged with ­killing a Metchosin man during a prison break two years ago is being moved to Vancouver.

James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage had applied to the B.C. Supreme Court for the change of venue. The two men are charged with the first-degree murder of Martin Payne, 60, on July 8, 2019. Their next court appearance is Jan. 12 in Vancouver.

Evidence, submissions and Justice Michael Tammen’s reasons for the decision cannot be reported because of a publication ban.

Police have said previously the two inmates escaped from the Victoria-area prison by walking away at low tide on July 7, 2019. They were recaptured on the evening of July 9 in Esquimalt after being recognized by an off-duty RCMP officer out walking his dog.

West Shore RCMP found Payne’s body in his Brookview Drive home on July 12 after he didn’t show up for work.

Busch and Armitage have already pleaded guilty to the prison break and received 12-month sentences.

ldickson@timescolonist.com