Man Tried for Murder Twice Sues for Wrongful Conviction
Mark Edward Grant spent more than 10 years behind bars for a crime he may not have committed.
The retrial of Mark Edward Grant, who was accused of second-degree murder in the death of 13-year-old Candace Derksen in Winnipeg over three decades ago, recently concluded with an unexpected turn of events.
During his closing argument, Crown prosecutor Brent Davidson made a surprising admission, conceding that some of the DNA evidence against Grant may not be reliable, and urged Justice Karen Simonsen not to consider it.
Davidson acknowledged the potential unreliability of certain DNA evidence but emphasized that other DNA tests excluded 99.9 percent of the population, leaving Grant as a viable suspect. He argued for a guilty verdict, highlighting Grant’s alleged opportunity and means to commit the murder that occurred in late 1984.
On the other side, defense lawyer Saul Simmonds challenged the validity of the DNA samples presented against Grant. He argued that the minuscule size of the samples could make them inconclusive, suggesting that they could have originated from one of the numerous individuals who had accessed the industrial shed where Candace’s frozen body was found. Simmonds underscored the fact that the shed had been frequented by workers, police officers, and other people.
In addition to the DNA evidence, Davidson addressed the testimony of Tonia Lachance, a friend of Grant’s ex-girlfriend, who quoted Grant as saying, “I killed her,” followed by the statement, “No, I didn’t. I’m just kidding.” Lachance also claimed that Grant warned her to remain silent, threatening her with a similar fate to Candace’s. The defense challenged Lachance’s reliability, while the Crown argued that she was a credible witness.
“The case of Mark Grant deals with scientific evidence, means and opportunities, and an alleged admission,” Davidson argued in court. “Mark Edward Grant is guilty of murdering Candace Derksen, and there should be no reasonable doubt in your decision.”
Justice Karen Simonsen acknowledged that reaching a decision may take several months, considering the complexity of the case and the extensive evidence presented.