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Vader maintains innocence in police interviews

Interviews Travis Vader gave to police following his arrest on Dec. 19, 2014, are now full exhibits before the court. Following a two-day voir dire hearing on Wednesday and Thursday Justice Denny Thomas made an oral ruling they could be admitted.

Interviews Travis Vader gave to police following his arrest on Dec. 19, 2014, are now full exhibits before the court.

Following a two-day voir dire hearing on Wednesday and Thursday Justice Denny Thomas made an oral ruling they could be admitted.

Court heard the two interviews, spanning about five hours on Dec. 19 and 20 at the St. Albert RCMP detachment, conducted by officer Michael McCauley.

He testified Thursday morning that the strategy employed in the interview – telling Vader he believed him to be innocent – was meant to elicit more information from him.

"We had strategized and come up with a different approach, to encourage dialogue," McCauley said.

Vader is accused of murdering St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann on July 3, 2010. They were last seen at a gas station filling up their motorhome, and haven’t been seen since. Their bodies have never been found.

Crown prosecutor Jim Stewart has said the “provable lies” in Vader’s interviews will be a key part of the Crown’s case.

In the interviews, Vader maintained his innocence, and spoke at length with McCauley about his alibi.

Vader said he had been at Dave Olson's house in Peers, Alta., from noon until 3:20 p.m., gone to Don Bulmer's house in nearby McKay, then returned to Olson's house around 5:20 p.m.

Vader's ex-girlfriend Amber Williams has testified that text messages sent from Lyle McCann's cellphone around 2:15 p.m. that day could only have come from Vader based on their content, including references to their relationship.

"If I'm there (Olson's house) from noon to 3:20, how am I even involved with this at 2:15?" Vader said.

Vader also told McCauley he had never had anything to do with the McCanns' SUV at all. Fingerprint and DNA experts have testified Vader's prints and DNA were found in the SUV, although defence lawyer Brian Beresh questioned the certainty of that evidence.

McCauley asked Vader about the Ford F350 that was found partially burned on an oil lease site near where the SUV was found, which several witnesses have said looked like the truck Vader was driving July 4.

"I've got nothing to do with this truck," he said, suggesting he was driving a different vehicle July 4.

Testimony Thursday afternoon and Friday morning consisted of an RCMP officer and an RCMP DNA analyst testifying about how and when they handled specific pieces of evidence in the case. That evidence is expected to continue Friday afternoon.

The arguments about whether Bobbi Jo Vader’s interviews with RCMP are admissible have been adjourned until Monday morning.