Prosecutors link escaped prisoner to Metchosin murder scene using DNA as trial continues

Prosecutors link escaped prisoner to Metchosin murder scene using DNA as trial continues
Facebook/Correctional Service of Canada.
James Lee Busch, 42, is one of two inmates that escaped from William Head Institution in Metchosin.

In week three of the Metchosin murder trial, Crown prosecutors showed how they’re hoping to connect the dots for a 12-person jury.

For the first time, prosecutors linked escaped William Head Penitentiary prisoner James Lee Busch to Martin Payne’s Metchosin home, where the 60-year-old was found dead in a pool of his own blood.

Busch is pleading not guilty to Payne’s first-degree murder.

Tuesday, a police investigator finally tied up a couple of loose ends in the Crown’s case.

Previously, the jury had heard of “male 1” and “male 2” who each had DNA found, alongside Payne’s, on bloodied clothing within garbage bags inside Payne’s bedroom.

Const. Donald Davidson confirmed Tuesday, male 1 was Armitage, and male 2 was Busch, connecting the blood-stained hiking boots, underwear and New Balance shoes found at the scene, to Busch.

It’s the first time prosecutors have been able to place Busch inside the crime scene. Up until this point, Busch’s defence lawyer Ryan Drury has highlighted the lack of forensic evidence placing Busch at the scene of the crime.

The New Balance shoes have been a point of contention throughout the trial. They’ve been connected by forensic investigators as a possible match to footprints in blood found in Payne’s bathroom near Payne’s body.

Drury has argued the lack of unique markings in the footprint means the print could have been made by any size 10.5 New Balance shoe of that model.

Davidson also testified that the keys found in the red and black MEC backpack found on Busch at the time of his arrest, worked on Payne’s truck and opened multiple locks on Payne’s home.

Crown also attempted to tie up another loose end in the abbreviated day: the note asking for the PIN number of a card found on Payne’s desk.

Busch’s defence had previously asserted that it was a failure by investigators to not have the handwriting analyzed, and because of that analysis’ absence, nothing disproved Payne from writing the note himself.

“There is no one who does handwriting analysis in Canada anymore,” Davidson told the jury, explaining why police chose to have it fingerprinted instead.

Fingerprints on that note came back as a match to Armitage, who escaped William Head Penitentiary with Busch at low tide in July of 2019, days before Payne was found dead.

Armitage is “being dealt with in a separate way” according to the trial judge. A publication ban prevents CHEK News from sharing any details on that process, while Busch’s trial is ongoing.

One of the final witnesses will be called on Wednesday.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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