Jury deliberates in motel murder case



A Crown prosecutor has pointed out that the DNA of an Alberta trucker who is accused in a motel murder was found on several items in the room.

But the lawyer also noted in his final arguments at Gordon Hurley's trial in North Battleford, Sask., that the DNA of the victim's lover was also found.

The body of Jarita Naistus of Onion Lake, Sask., was discovered in a motel in Lloydminster on the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary in October 2005.

Naistus, who was 20 when she died, was partially covered by sheets and had a belt around her neck.

Hurley, who is 46, is charged with second-degree murder. His defence lawyer told the jury there's no evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client killed Naistus.

Morris Bodnar suggested there's more to link the lover, Myron Smith, to the murder. But none of the evidence is very strong, the lawyer suggested.

Bodnar said the biggest problem is that the investigation done by police was sloppy and officers didn't test many items for DNA. Prosecutor Scott Bartlett agreed that the evidence is circumstantial, including testimony from jailhouse informant Darrel Lee Nieme.

Nieme said Hurley told him he couldn't understand why police arrested him because he had wiped things down.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Neil Gabrielson told the jurors they must accept the law as he interprets it for them, but they must decide for themselves which evidence they will accept or reject.

Gabrielson also warned them about Nieme's testimony. The judge pointed out that Nieme has a criminal record and that he admitted that he was aware of a $50,000 reward for information regarding the murder.

The jury began deliberating just after 5 p.m. on Monday.