Candace Derksen’s family hopes retrial of man accused of killing teen will help them move on
“I have a hope that we will get to the bottom of it this time"
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/01/2017 (2325 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
As the second murder trial begins for the man accused of killing her daughter 32 years ago, Wilma Derksen says the verdict won’t matter much.
“I have a hope that we will get to the bottom of it this time,” Derksen told the Free Press Sunday as she and her husband Cliff and their two adult children prepared to head back to court for what she described as a “surreal” re-run of a murder trial she sat through six years ago. “The story is coming out in bits and pieces, but I guess the verdict doesn’t really matter to us. I think we’ll all have to come to a verdict of our own. And I think it will help us move on.”
Candace Derksen was 13 when she was found frozen and bound inside a shed after she went missing in 1984 on her way home from school. The man convicted of second-degree murder in her death had his conviction overturned four years ago based on an error made by the original trial judge. A new trial is set to begin today.
The retrial of Mark Edward Grant is scheduled for 34 days in front of a Court of Queen’s Bench judge. Defence lawyer Saul Simmonds said he expected the trial to continue through the second or third week of February.
Derksen said she doesn’t have as many unanswered questions about her daughter’s death this time around, but she wants to respect the judicial process.
“Underlying all of this is that feeling that we are honoured that we live in a country that wants to know the truth. And we are going to pay attention to this. We are going to go the distance,” she said.
Her family has already spent more than three decades trying to get to the truth, yet she still showed sympathy for her daughter’s accused killer, saying it’s not fair to Grant that the legal process has dragged on so long.
“This isn’t justice for him, either,” Derksen said.
“There’s the little questions of what was that DNA about? But then there’s, of course, the big questions of ‘Why us?’ ‘Why Candace?’ And ‘what was this all about?’” – Wilma Derksen, Candace’s mother
Grant wasn’t arrested until 2007 for what was one of the city’s most notorious unsolved killings. He went to trial in 2011 and was found guilty of second-degree murder. The Manitoba Court of Appeal overturned the verdict in 2013 based on errors made by the judge. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the appeal in 2014.
The conviction was overturned because the initial trial judge didn’t allow jurors to hear evidence the defence argued could have pointed to a different suspect in a similar abduction case that happened while Grant, a convicted sex offender, was behind bars.
In that case, a 12-year-old girl was allegedly abducted, bound with rope and left in an abandoned railway boxcar in the same area of the city, less than a year after Candace disappeared.
Derksen said she still has some unanswered questions about the mystery of Candace’s murder all these years later.
“There’s the little questions of what was that DNA about? But then there’s, of course, the big questions of ‘Why us?’ ‘Why Candace?’ And ‘what was this all about?’”
— with files from Mike McIntyre
Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.
Updated on Monday, January 16, 2017 11:07 AM CST: Adds twitter