deadmonton - thomas george svekla - interrogation tapes


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On March 21st, 2008 videotapes showing the police interrogation of Thomas Svekla were released to media.


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The tapes had earlier been played in a voir dire – a trial within a trial – at Svekla's preliminary hearing to determine their admissibility as evidence.


It was decided only some portions of the interrogation would be entered into the trial as Justice Sterling Sanderman ruled some of Svekla's Charter rights were violated as the result of the questioning.


A publication ban was put into effect during the preliminary hearing held in early 2007. The ban was challenged by some media outlets and the tapes were later released.


Below are transcripts of selected portions of the dozen or so hours police spent questioning their suspect.



On June 23rd, 2004 Thomas Svekla undergoes a polygraph test in connection with the investigation of his discovery of Rachel Quinney's body in a session.


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Police: Before June 11, 2004 did you know Rachel's body was at that location?


Svekla: No.


Police: Did you participate in any way in Rachel's death?


Svekla: No.


After the session Svekla is told he passed the test.



Questioned shortly after his arrest in May 2006, Svekla tells police he didn't kill Theresa Innes and refuses to talk about what did happen.


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Police: How about the murder Thomas, who's involved with you in that?


Svekla: I can't tell you.


Police: How come?


Svekla: Cause I have a family out there.


Police: Well let's talk about the killing in person.


Svekla: I didn't do it.


Police: Well tell us about it though, tell us about the killing.


Svekla: I can't.


Police: Tell us about the killing.


Svekla: I can't.



Police change their tactic and use a personal approach, asking Svekla about his youth. He tells police of a domineering father and a childhood described as fragile.


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Svekla: I wanted to commit suicide.


Police: You want to now?


Svekla: I wanted to.


Police: You wanted to.


Svekla: I wanted to when I was a kid.



Police change tactics again and use a more convincing style.


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Police: This investigation right now – you have to understand – is the biggest thing going on in the country. There's nothing bigger.


Minutes later it's back to the softer approach. Svekla is tired and can be seen holding up his head.


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Police: Let's just you and I just spend some time together then.


Svekla: I don't want to spend any time. I just want to lay down.


However, officers don't offer the man a chance to sleep and instead try to appeal to his ego.


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Police: Ever been on the front page of the Edmonton Sun before? Huh?


Police try to link him to other unsolved murders.


Police: You know what? Whoever did the seven will be in the paper for a long time. Look at Paul Bernardo. Paul Bernardo is still in the press. Still.



In November 2006, with evidence flipcharts slowly added to the walls of the room, police tell Svekla that Theresa Innes suffocated to death. They read him statements from his former girlfriends who said he always choked them during sex.


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Police: What they talked about of course was during this sexual interaction – you guys are having sex obviously – these choking episodes that you had ... I mean, that's something eh? That is something. You know, that's mean. That is problematic.



An extended conversation coming at the close of the long session hears Thomas Svekla urging police to charge him and what it will cost them if they do.


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Police: You've told us many times that in your own statements, your own history, your own background that you thought you were different ... different than others.


Svekla: That's how people see me. That's one of my problems.


Police: Yeah.


Svekla: You constantly think ... If you guys think I'm a serial killer well OK I fit the mold. If that's what you guys say about me. Yeah OK I fit the mold and say yep – to please you guys – my job is to dispose of the bodies. That's all. That's me ... my function. Saying yep, just to please you guys takes you guys off my damn case.


Police: You know what? That's not it at all Tom. It's not us saying you're a serial killer.


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Police: It's the facts ... the circumstances, the people. As I say, the totality of everything. It is what it is.


Svekla: You know I wish you guys would charge me with Rachel Quinney.


Police: I walk up to you and I can't looking at you head to toe –


Svekla: I want you guys to charge me with Rachel Quinney.


Police: Yeah? You want that?


Svekla: Yeah, I want that.


Police: You know what? I read that particular duck soup page and I think to myself you lied about who decided the location, lied about who she recognised as the body – why the lies ...


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Police: ... because there's something huge behind this.


Svekla: I want you to charge me with all of them.


Police: With all of them? How many, Tom. How many is all of them?


Svekla: Let's go with fourteen.


Police: Okay, why is 14 the magic number?


Svekla: Because I'm looking at a million each. I'll get a million dollars each.


Police: Fourteen bodies?


Svekla: Fourteen million bucks. That's what I'll sue you for.


Police: Is that right?


Svekla: I'm looking at suing you guys. Project KARE.


Police: (Laughs) Well good luck.


Svekla: I'm the first arrest you guys made. You guys are falling on your face. You know what? It's all a bunch of ducks. That's all you have.


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Police: You found a dead hooker. You're caught hauling another dead hooker ... I'm pretty comfortable with that, Tom ...


Svekla: ... witnesses. You tipped them off.


Police: Not at all.


Svekla: You lied to ...


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Police: What sort of fantasies ... what goes through your head?


Svekla: Making cookies.


Police: (Laughs) You're making cookies in High Level?


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Another officer comes in with some coffee for Svekla, apologising that they're out of cream. As the interrogator is called out, Svekla offers some parting words.


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Svekla: A million bucks I'm going to spend.


During the final moments of the six straight hours of questioning police are again heard outlining their case to the man.


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Svekla: Oh you ain't got duck. Absolutely duck.


Police: No ... I think we've got a Christmas Turkey here.



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