One of two prison escapees accused in Metchosin murder will no longer be part of trial

WatchNever-seen-before security videos show the moment the prison escapees were arrested as a judge announces Zachary Armitage will no longer be part of the murder trial.

In a big twist to the Metchosin murder trial, one of the suspects, Zachary Armitage, “will no longer be part of the trial” for the murder of 60-year-old Martin Payne.

Justice David Crossin told the 12-person jury in Vancouver’s Supreme Court Tuesday saying Armitage has been dealt with “in a separate way.”

“It is not appropriate to tell you why Mr. Armitage is no longer part of this trial. You will no doubt be curious but I direct you not to speculate…your task is to deliberate the guilt or innocence of Mr. Busch and only Mr. Busch,” Crossin told the jurors.

The decision is a result of some conversations between defence lawyers, Crown, and the judge Monday which happened without the jury present. Legally, because the jury wasn’t there, CHEK News can’t tell you about those conversations–they are protected by a court publication ban while Busch’s trial is ongoing.

In a slightly new format, the trial for James Lee Busch who is pleading not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Payne, continued.

New security videos were submitted as evidence by crown prosecutors Tuesday, piecing together Busch and Armitage’s last movements before their arrest on July 9th.

First, the jury saw a video from an Oak Bay home security camera that shows a red Ford F150 slowly driving by. Sargeant Vinod Rajua, the field investigator in charge of gathering the video footage for this case, says he believes it to be a match to Payne’s truck. A couple of minutes later, Rajua testified that the same men, Armitage and Busch, walk in the opposite direction that the truck was travelling north on Woodburn Avenue, also captured on video.

Rajua also located security video of the Johnson Street Bridge from a couple of hours later. In it, he observed the same men wearing the same clothing as they were in the Oak Bay video, walking from downtown Victoria to Esquimalt.

The man in black could be seen carrying a green one-shouldered backpack. Crown says that was found discarded along Sagalie Road, three blocks from where Armitage and Busch were arrested. Within it, prosecutors say was a camera that had Payne’s name and phone numbers on it, containing various pictures of Payne and his property.

Another security video gathered from the International Marina caught the pair on the Songhees Walkway and show the moment Armitage and Busch are arrested by police.

The video also shows hows a red and black backpack Busch was carrying was seized, one of many items Armitage and Busch had on them at the time of their arrest, which crown prosecutors say belonged to Payne. The black ball cap Busch was wearing, the blue Mount Washington hoodie, and Keen hiking boots Armitage was wearing were all identified by Payne’s daughter, as his.

A future witness is expected to testify that they saw two men get out of Payne’s parked truck in Oak Bay. Fingerprints from both men were found in Payne’s truck.

Tuesday’s proceedings were adjourned early because Busch was suffering from allergies, but are expected to continue tomorrow.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!