News

Inquiry underway into Princeton double-murder

Robert (Keith) Wharton, 44, and Rosemary (Rose) Fox, 32, were shot to death at a property on Old Hedley Road in Princeton on Saturday, March 30, 2013. - Submitted
Robert (Keith) Wharton, 44, and Rosemary (Rose) Fox, 32, were shot to death at a property on Old Hedley Road in Princeton on Saturday, March 30, 2013.
— image credit: Submitted

A provincial court judge in Penticton has begun hearing evidence from the police investigation into a double-murder last year in Princeton.

John Ike Koopmans, 49 at the time of this arrest on March 31, 2013, is charged with two counts of murder and a single count of attempted murder.

He’s alleged on March 30, 2013, to have shot and killed Robert Keith Wharton, 44, and Rosemary Fox, 32, and injured another man at a property on Old Hedley Road in Princeton.

A five-day preliminary inquiry into the matter began Tuesday at the Penticton courthouse. The judge hearing the case will decide if there’s enough evidence to send the matter to trial in B.C. Supreme Court.

All evidence heard during the inquiry is protected by a routine publication ban, which is intended to prevent tainting the jury pool in case the matter does indeed proceed to trial.

Crown counsel Vern Frolick called two witnesses Tuesday morning.

Frolick said outside the courtroom he is unsure how many witnesses he will call in total or if the inquiry will wrap up within the five days scheduled.

Koopmans, wearing glasses and a long goatee, was silent but listened intently to the witnesses and appeared to be taking notes while seated in the prisoners’ dock. He’s been in custody since his arrest.

In the days that followed the shootings, RCMP said Koopmans and the shooting victims all lived in the Princeton area and were known to each other.

 

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