[JURIST] A Canadian jury convicted Robert William Pickton [CBC case backgrounder] Sunday of second degree murder for the deaths of six women in the 1990s. He was found not guilty of first degree murder, with the jury concluding that the killings were not planned. Pickton, accused of murdering 26 women [indictment text] he had lured from Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside, pleaded not guilty to all murder charges when his trial began in January [JURIST report]. British Columbia Supreme Court Justice James Williams decided last year to divide the counts [CBC report] to avoid overburdening the jury. A second trial on further first degree murder charges could begin early next year, although BC Attorney General Wally Oppal said Sunday that no official decision on that had been made [CBC report]. Pickton was arrested in 2002 after remains were discovered on his pig farm.
Under the Canadian Criminal Code [text], second degree murder carries an automatic life in prison sentence, but allows convicts to be eligible for parole after 10 years. Pickton had originally been charged with first degree murder, which would have made him ineligible for parole for 25 years. At a sentencing hearing Tuesday, Williams will decide whether Pickton will be eligible for parole at all. If convicted of all 26 murders, Pickton would be the most deadly serial killer in Canadian history. AP has more. The Globe and Mail has local coverage.