Debi Volker was shot in the head by an expanding bullet that increased its size upon impact, a Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench jury heard on Monday.
Kraemer Powley, an RCMP firearms forensic expert, testified that the hollow point .22-calibre bullet that struck the 44-year-old Delburne mother is designed to “flatten out and cause a larger frontal impact.”
Court was told by a forensic pathologist last week that Volker was shot at close range on Feb. 23, 2009, and most likely didn’t suffer.
The pathologist estimated that Volker was shot at a distance of 15 to 30 cm (six inches to a foot).
Powley said hollow point .22-calibre bullets are mainly designed for hunting small game because of the explosive characteristics.
He said the hollow point’s purpose is to expand once within the target, thus maximizing blood loss.
Brian Clarence Volker, 50, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife.
He is also charged with breaking and entering and committing an offence, using a firearm to commit an offence, and four counts of breaching conditions of a release from custody.
The Crown is out to prove that the accused wanted revenge because his wife and three children left him a few months earlier.
Powley testified that about 20 cm of butt stock and 13 cm of a .22-calibre rifle barrel that had been both cut “would make it like a hand gun.”
Debi Volker’s son Jeremy, who attempted to stop his father in the 3 a.m. incident at his mother’s Delburne home, testified earlier that he saw his father holding the weapon at waist level while trying to point it at Debi Volker.
Janelle Volker, who was 11 at the time, described the weapon as being about 30 cm long (two feet).
Two RCMP officers testified they conducted extensive, separate searches of Brian Volker’s farm property a few days after the shooting but couldn’t locate the weapon.
Numerous out buildings and the house and a vehicle were searched.
They also searched Debi Volker’s house and yard, as well as nearby lanes, ditches and treed areas.
The search did uncover the rifle butt and barrel piece in a bucket in a machine shop on the farm.
Cpl. Frank Paquin told prosecutor Denis Huot that he and his police dog scoured the farm buildings, the entire quarter section of farm land and Debi Volker’s residential grounds and nearby property but came up empty.
A one-km stretch of a nearby range road was also searched.
Chief Crown prosecutor Anders Quist told Justice Doreen Sulyma that he has one more witness today to wrap up his case.
Defence lawyer Patty MacNaughton said she has at least one witness.
The justice told the jury it appears the case won’t take the allotted four weeks and could conclude by early next week, with closing arguments and her instructions on the law to them before they deliberate.