Warning: Story has graphic, disturbing details.
The mothers of two Duncan women brutally murdered by William Gordon Robert Elliott finally learned Friday the chilling details of how their daughters died.
The information was made public after Elliott, 24, stood in a packed Victoria courtroom and pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Karrie Ann Stone, 42, in July 2010 and to the second-degree murder of 18-year-old Tyeshia Jones on Jan. 22, 2011.
When Crown prosecutor Scott Van Alstine told the B.C. Supreme Court hearing how Bev Stone’s daughter was beaten with a baseball bat, then set alight while she was still alive, the mother put her hand to her mouth in shock.
Jones’s mother, Mary Jim, wearing a T-shirt with Tyeshia’s photo, sat with her three youngest children as Van Alstine told the court that Elliott had run his truck over her daughter.
Justice Keith Bracken accepted the guilty pleas and ordered a pre-sentence report with a psychiatric component.
A separate Gladue report, prepared for aboriginal offenders, was also ordered for Elliott, who is a married father and a member of the Cowichan Tribes. His five-day sentencing hearing will be held in B.C. Supreme Court in Duncan beginning Dec. 16.
Second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment with a parole ineligibility period of 10 to 25 years. Van Alstine said he would ask for 25 years.
Stone was a 42-year-old single woman who lived at the Super 8 Motel in Duncan. She struggled with drug addiction and sometimes made money by selling sex, Van Alstine said.
Stone was last seen around midnight on July 7, 2010. When she missed her daily methadone appointments and didn’t show up at her brother’s funeral on July 10, her mother reported her missing on July 12. That was the same day a man stumbled on her burned body in the woods, Van Alstine said.
Stone was burned beyond recognition. There was significant blunt force trauma to her head, he said.
On Jan. 22, 2011, Jones’s mother reported her missing when she didn’t return home after a party. Her body was found after six days in the woods behind the Shaker Church in the Duncan area, Van Alstine said.
Cellphone records show Jones was last heard from at 3:39 a.m. on Jan. 22 when she called a friend, Van Alstine said.
On Jan. 23, her cellphone was found in a planter box on Cowichan Tribes land. On Jan. 25, police learned that a Duncan man, Alex Canute, had been telling people he’d seen blood behind the Shaker church. Police went there with Canute, but couldn’t find the blood. On Jan. 28, police conducted a more thorough search with a police dog and found Jones’s naked body on the ground.
An autopsy showed extensive blunt-force head injuries, damage and injury to her teeth and her eyes, bruising on her knees and hemorrhages consistent with manual strangulation, Van Alstine said. The cause of her death was blunt-force injuries.
Swabs taken from her body turned up a partial male profile and a data bank match was made to Elliott, Van Alstine said. Elliott provided a DNA sample on Feb. 19, 2011.
Police obtained a warrant to search his residence. Swabs taken of a blood-like stain on a wall contained Stone’s DNA.
Investigators of both murders began working together and created an undercover crime boss operation, Van Alstine said.
Elliott was brought into a fictitious crime organization where all the players were undercover police officers. He, ultimately, revealed details of the crimes.
Elliott told the crime boss that when his wife was out of town, he picked up Stone and took her home. After consensual sex, Stone threatened to tell his wife. Elliott got a baseball bat and hit her on the head with it.
“He put her in the back of his pickup truck along with a can of gasoline. He drove to a remote area of Duncan, into the woods. He poured gas over her and set her on fire. She was alive at the outset while she burned,” Van Alstine said.
In the Jones killing, Elliott told the crime boss he was driving his truck and accidentally hit Jones, who was on her way to meet a friend at the Duncan Superstore on the Trans-Canada Highway. He put her in the back of his pickup and drove her behind the Shaker cemetery, along a dirt track leading to the woods.
“She was alive and he attempted to sexually assault her. He took her clothes off and choked her with her own bra. He hit her on the head, her teeth and her eyes with a stick and left her there. Then he took her clothes and burned them,” Van Alstine said.
Elliott re-enacted both murders for the crime boss, Van Alstine said. During the re-enactment, Elliott voluntarily handed over a bag of items connected to Stone’s murder. The bag contained her upper denture plate and a baseball bat with her DNA on it.
Shortly after, Elliott was arrested. During a police interview, he said what he told the crime boss was true.
After Elliott gave a statement to police, officers brought in the mothers of his two victims to meet him. Elliott wrote letters of apologies to both of them, Van Alstine said.