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Vader discussed alibi with cell mate

Travis Vader discussed his alibi for the day Lyle and Marie McCann disappeared with a cell mate more than one year later. Court heard three more conversations police intercepted in the closing days of the Crown's case against him this week.

Travis Vader discussed his alibi for the day Lyle and Marie McCann disappeared with a cell mate more than one year later.

Court heard three more conversations police intercepted in the closing days of the Crown's case against him this week. He is accused of killing the elderly St. Albert couple on July 3, 2010.

Prosecutor Jim Stewart said the first two conversations were recorded between Vader and his cell mate Elmer Cardinal on Oct. 12 and Oct. 13, 2011 at the Red Deer Remand Centre. They were both approximately 15 minutes long, and while the speech is unintelligible at some points in the conversation, much of it is clear.

In the first one, Vader can be heard speaking to the man identified, as Cardinal tells Vader he could tell police he saw him somewhere on "the third," and the two discuss specifics of the story.

"If we figure it out right we may get through this without having to kill someone," Cardinal can be heard saying at one point.

In the second one, Vader and Cardinal are heard discussing the alibi further, with Vader noting the difference between Bobbi Jo Vader's story and Sherri Lynn Campbell's story as to where Vader was on July 3 was a problem, and Cardinal suggests saying he saw Vader at "the bar" using the ATM.

"Yeah, we're going to have an airtight alibi," Cardinal says at one point.

Vader can also be heard talking about "stealing 500 pounds of copper at a time" and selling it for a few dollars per pound.

The two also discuss how Bobbi Jo Vader's statement apparently places Travis Vader in a tan-coloured truck, with Cardinal saying how her statements are "inadmissible because she was high and drunk and hung over."

Several witnesses have testified Vader was driving a silver, beige or light brown Ford F-350 July 3 and 4, which matches the description of a vehicle police found partially burned July 17, 2010, and in which they found keys to the McCanns' SUV Aug. 16.

The third intercept played for the court was of a recorded phone call between Vader, his mother, and his sister Bobbi Jo. Vader was calling from the Red Deer Remand Centre on Oct. 16, 2011.

In it, Vader argues with his sister about his alibi, when he arrived at the rooming house where Bobbi Jo was staying and what day he left.

In that conversation Vader also refers to July 9 as the day he beat up Dave Olson, also known as Bandana Dave.

Applications and arguments

There are several outstanding applications for which Justice Denny Thomas will still have to make a decision in this case, likely before defence lawyer Brian Beresh begins presenting Vader's case next week.

One issue that arose early in the case is whether the testimony several witnesses gave about what Marie McCann indicated to them as their travel plans could be admitted as evidence. Typically, a witness can only give evidence about what they saw someone do, but not about what they heard someone say.

A second issue is whether Vader's ex-girlfriend Andrea Saddleback-Sexsmith's testimony contradicted her statements to police, which has been referred to as the "recent fabrication issue."

A fairly significant outstanding issue is the admissibility of text messages, and whether the content of some of those text messages breach Vader's right to privacy under Sec. 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Thomas noted it was unusual for this type of motion to come so late in a trial, describing it as something that should have been filed three years ago or even six months ago as a pre-trial motion.

"This has the potential to seriously dislocate the completion of the trial," he said.

Arguments about outstanding motions is expected to be heard Friday afternoon, with decisions expected next week. Beresh is expected to begin presenting the defence case on Wednesday.