Less than 12 hours after he allegedly murdered Robert-Jan Planje, Stephen Kenneth Frederickson explained the blood on his jeans to a fellow junkie by saying "some people think because I'm deaf, I'm weak," according to testimony at his trial Tuesday.
Crown counsel alleges Frederickson beat Planje to death in the early morning hours of Dec. 13, 2010, just hours after being released from police custody. Frederickson, who is deaf, had been living at Planje's Ashwell Road home, and had been arrested following a dispute. The body of Planje, a long-time family friend of Frederickson and a lay minister at Chilliwack United Church, was found two weeks later down an embankment off a Hope forestry road.
Michaelle Bakstad told the court that Frederickson came to a down-town Chilliwack crack shack on the morning of Dec. 13, 2010, to buy drugs. Bakstad-who says she has now been sober for nine months- facilitated the purchase and spent the next several hours with Frederickson.
Bakstad said Frederickson could read lips and speak and that he told her "he had gotten in a fight with a few guys who thought because he was deaf he was a wimp."
Bakstad said Frederickson's knuckles "were all kicked to shit" and that he had blood on his jeans.
She said the pair drove to a road near Bridal Falls where they smoked crack. Shown a picture of Planje's Toyota Camry, Bakstad, who said she was getting "creeped out" by Frederickson, later told police she saw what may have been a body wrapped in a tarp in the nearby woods. No body was found.
Bakstad testified that Frederickson asked her to help pawn a ring for him so that he could buy more drugs.
Crown counsel alleges that ring belonged to Planje.
Later in the day, Frederickson drove Bakstad to collect her welfare check. She testified that, while she was inside the office, she looked outside and saw "a cop beating the crap out of" Frederickson.
Other Mounties quickly descended on the area, she remembered.
"They came in like the Dukes of Hazzard; they came in from every direction," she said.
Bakstad was arrested at the scene, provided a statement to police, and later released. She was not charged with any crime.
In cross-examination, defence counsel Ken Beatch suggested that Bakstad couldn't understand everything his client said during their time together.
"He was difficult to understand because of his speech impediment and the drugs on top of that made it worse, isn't that right?" Beatch asked. Bakstad disagreed, but Beatch showed a tape in which Bakstad admitted she couldn't understand everything Frederickson said.
He also questioned Bakstad's testimony and suggested that it has changed since the first statements she gave to police. He suggested that her use of crack cocaine on the day in question compromised her judgment and may have caused her to hallucinate seeing what she thought was a body.
The lives of Frederickson and Bakstad have diverged considerably since the day they spent together two-plus years ago. Frederickson has spent the entire time in jail, where his hair has gone grey.
Bakstad once worked in a school with the disabled, but in December of 2010 weighed just 95 pounds and did crack from sun-up to sun-down. She found herself on her deathbed in hospital June of 2012, she told the court. Since then, she has cleaned herself up and put on weight. She told the court Tuesday, that she finally kicked the drug habit she had begun at the age of 26.