Jury trial begins for triple-murder suspect

Victims Terry Blanchette and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette are shown in this photo from Blanchette’s Facebook page.A southern Alberta man accused of killing three people including a father and his daughter is to face a seven-week trial before a judge and jury. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Terry Blanchette

Victims Terry Blanchette and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette are shown in this photo from Blanchette’s Facebook page.A southern Alberta man accused of killing three people including a father and his daughter is to face a seven-week trial before a judge and jury. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Terry Blanchette

LETHBRIDGE — A triple-murder trial began Wednesday with the Crown telling court the suspect confessed to police that he killed all three victims: a father and daughter and a senior.

Derek Saretzky is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Terry Blanchette, who was 27, two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.

The Crown said in its opening statement that Saretzky had inside knowledge of the deaths in September 2015.

“He provided details to the police that only the killer would know,” prosecutor Photini Papadatou told the jury Wednesday.

Jurors also heard that Saretzky took police to a remote area where the girl’s remains were found in a firepit.

Saretzky, 24, is also charged with committing an indignity to the girl’s body.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Papadatou said the case started as two separate investigations: one into the death of Meketech and one into Blanchette’s slaying.

His daughter was missing when his body was discovered in his home in Blairmore, Alta., and RCMP quickly realized they needed more help in an all-out effort to find Hailey alive, the prosecutor said.

An Amber Alert that extended across Western Canada and into the United States was issued, but the child was found dead a few days later.

Papadatou said Saretzky’s family came forward to help.

“These are good and decent people,” she told the jury.

She added the accused’s father, Larry Sartezky, “will tell you about things his son said to him that led to his son’s arrest.”

The Crown is expected to call just over 30 witnesses and enter 38 exhibits as evidence.

Saretzky was arrested in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta after Blanchette’s father found his son’s body. He had been trying to contact his son for hours and finally found him dead in the bathroom of his house in a pool of blood.

Police have said Saretzky and Blanchette were acquaintances, but have not elaborated on how the two men knew each other.

The little girl’s mother has described Saretzky as an old friend whom she hadn’t spoken to in years.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US Vice-President Joe Biden walk down the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. If Joe Biden’s decision to kill off Keystone XL is supposed to sound the death knell for Canada-U.S. relations, you wouldn’t know it from the newly minted president’s call sheet. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
In wake of decision to kill Keystone XL, Biden’s first foreign-leader call? Trudeau

Biden rescinded former president Donald Trump’s approval of the US$8-billion cross-border pipeline expansion

Protesting farmers and their families gather around a bonfire to mark the harvest festival, which is called Lohri, on a blocked highway in protest against new farm laws on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Changes in India’s farm laws could potentially open up one of the world’s most populous markets and are being closely watched by Canada’s agricultural and economic sectors, say experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Altaf Qadri
Changes in Indian farm laws could benefit Canada, experts say

Independent committee of experts to negotiate with opponents of legislation

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
CFIB raises estimate of small businesses at risk of closing permanently

One in six Canadian small business owners seriously contemplating shutting down

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

Lucas Berg, left, with the backpacks filled with essential items he donated to the Red Deer Mustard Seed Jan. 19, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Central Alberta teenager donates filled 20 backpacks to Red Deer Mustard Seed

Lucas Berg, 14, of Ponoka County says he ‘just wants to help people’

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus looks into a souvenir shop displaying various of stickers, one of them showing a former U.S. President Donald Trump caricature, in Beijing, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. China imposed sanctions on nearly 30 former Trump administration officials moments after they left office on Wednesday. In a statement released just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, Beijing slapped travel bans and business restrictions on Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and U.N. ambassador, Kelly Craft. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
China hopes for co-operation, better relations under Biden

U.S. need to relaunch co-operation in a number of areas

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to the media during a press conference on the current situation in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. Topics include the decisions taken by the federal and state governments to combat the Corona pandemic, the Chancellor’s upcoming virtual consultations with the heads of state and government of the European Union (EU), and relations with the United States following the inauguration of the new president. (Michael Kappeler/Pool via AP)
Germany’s Merkel stands by Russia pipeline that US opposes

Washington says the project makes Europe more dependent on Russian gas and hurt European energy security

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, left, greets International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel during their meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (Nikolai Petrov/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)
Lithuania offers to replace Belarus as hockey worlds co-host

Tournament scheduled to run May 21 to June 6

Canadian international midfielder Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare, left, is seen in action against St. Louis FC in an undated handout photo. Gagnon-Lapare has joined HFX Wanderers FC on a two-year deal with a club option for 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-HFX Wanderers FC
Canadian international Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare joins CPL’s HFX Wanderers FC

Gagnon-Lapare most recently with Ottawa Fury FC and St. Louis FC

An Italian police officer stands by a copy of the “Salvator Mundi” (Savior of the World) by Leonardo da Vinci, in Naples, Italy, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Italian police have recovered a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th century “Salvator Mundi” painting of Jesus Christ that was stolen from a Naples church without the priests even realizing it was gone. The discovery was made over the weekend when Naples police working on a bigger operation found the painting hidden in an apartment. Police chief Alfredo Fabbrocini said the owner offered a “less than credible” explanation that he had “casually” bought it at a small market. (Italian Police via AP)
Italian police find stolen copy of Leonardo ‘Salvator Mundi’

500-year-old copy of Leonardo da Vinci painting

Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)
Inauguration fashion: Purple, pearls, American designers

Joe Biden wore navy blue suit and overcoat by Ralph Lauren

Adam Hadwin, of Canada, chips to the second green during the first round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Adam Hadwin hopes to hit reset button in 2021 starting with American Express

Adam Hadwin hopes to hit reset button in 2021 starting with American Express

Most Read