CALGARY — A jury trial for two people in a quadruple homicide in Calgary has heard one of the victims was held for ransom and tortured before his death.
Tewodros Kebede and Yu Chieh Liao, who also goes by the name Diana, have pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of Hanock Afowerk in 2017.
Liao also has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact in the killings of Cody Pfeiffer, 25 Tiffany Ear, 39 and 36-year-old Glynnis Fox.
Kebede has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact in the slaying of Pfeiffer, who the jury heard was present when Afowerk was killed.
The remains of Pfeiffer, Ear and Fox were found on July 10, 2017, in a burned-out car belonging to Afowerk, who was 26, at a suburban construction site.
Afowerk’s body was found dumped in the grass at the side of a road west of Calgary two days later.
“These horrific discoveries set in motion a large-scale police investigation into the deaths,” prosecutor Heather Morris said in her opening arguments Monday in a Calgary courtroom gallery filled with victims’ relatives.
Police have not charged anyone with killing the three people in the car.
Morris told court that Afowerk had plans to meet Liao to sell her false identification and was captured for ransom.
She added the Crown believes Pfeiffer, Ear and Fox were shot because they were witnesses.
Queen’s Bench Justice Blair Nixon told jurors they will have to see autopsy photos and hear evidence from medical experts, and that they can take a break if necessary.
“You may find this evidence to be graphic and perhaps upsetting,” he said.
The trial is scheduled to last six weeks.