HALIFAX – Emotions were running high outside Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Tuesday as Reita Jordan’s family and friends waited for the trial of her accused murder nears its end.
For the first time since the trial started, Reita’s mother, Donna Jordan, spoke publicly about her late daughter.
“Reita was my first born. She was a caring, loving, beautiful, curly haired girl who we miss very much,” Donna told Global News.
READ MORE: Paul Calnen pleads guilty to committing an indignity to human remains as murder trial opens
Paul Trevor Calnen is facing a charge of second degree murder and interfering with human remains in the 2013 death of Reita. The two were in a relationship and living together at the time of her death.
Despite an extensive search by both police and members of Reita’s own family, her body was never found.
This week, the family wore purple ribbons with an angel pinned in the middle to court in memory of the 34-year-old.
“Purple is against domestic violence so that’s why we wear them.”
Calnen’s trial opened three weeks ago, with the accused pleading guilty to indecently interfering with human remains, by burning them.
However, The 52-year-old pleaded not guilty to murder and the case proceeded to trial.
READ MORE: Paul Calnen admits to burning Reita Jordan’s body as week 1 of murder trial wraps up
A jury of nine women and five men were chosen out of hundreds of potential jurors to listen to the evidence in the case and determine Calnen’s fate.
Paul Trevor Calnen speaks with his lawyer during a break in his murder trial. Cory McGraw/Global News
Paul Trevor Calnen speaks with his lawyer during a break in his murder trial.
Cory McGraw/Global News
The crown alleges that Calnen killed Reita in the Hammonds Plains home that they shared and then disposed of her body.
The court saw two different videotaped statements that Calnen gave to police, the first statement was given right after Jordan disappeared, and was still considered a missing person. It showed Calnen denying he knew anything about his girlfriend’s whereabouts.
The second statement was given shortly after Calnen was arrested. In the video, Reita’s mother, Donna, is shown entering the interview room where Calnen is meeting with police. For more than an hour, Donna and officers plead with Calnen to tell them where Reita’s body is. He finally breaks and tells them he disposed of her remains
Account of what happened
According to Calnen, he came home from work on March 18, 2013 to find his girlfriend’s bags packed. The pair got into a fight and during the argument, Reita threw things at him and kicked his belongings.
Calnen told police Reita had her back to the stairs while they were arguing and she swung at him. He ducked to avoid being hit and Reita fell down the stairs. When Calnen checked on her, she was dead.
From there, the court heard Calnen tell police he put Reita’s body in his truck, stopped for a coffee and drove to Ingramport, where he dumped his girlfriend in the woods and burned her belongings.
Some time later, Calnen returned to the scene and moved her body from the woods in Ingramport to Musquodobit. Once there, he started a fire and burned her.
“The video that we just watched describes an accidental fall and so that’s not an admission that somebody has caused somebody’s death nor that they intended it,” said Peter Planetta, defence attorney for Calnen said following the video statement being played to the jury.
READ MORE: Text messages become critical evidence at Calnen murder trial
Several witnesses called
The court also heard from a number of witnesses, including friends of Reita Jordan and her mother, a tow truck driver Calnen called the night he disposed of Reita’s remains and police experts.
Even with the volume of evidence and testimony the Jordan family has sat through over the last few weeks, they remain optimistic and thankful the trial is moving faster than expected.
“Reita is much more than just this,” Donna Jordan said while embraced by Reita’s father, Warren.
“She was a beautiful human being and we remember everything about her. She’s still with us. She will always be with us. It hasn’t been difficult at all. We’re proud to be her parents.”
Monday, the crown officially introduced their last piece of evidence and closed their case. The defence had the opportunity to call evidence or witnesses to the stand Tuesday, but declined to.
“It’s been a long three years, almost three years, but we are waiting for the end. It’s very stressful. It will be stressful. Even after it’s all finished,” Donna Jordan said of the trial.
The judge presiding over the case scheduled closing arguments for Wednesday morning. It’s anticipated the jury will be charged Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, with the case being officially handed over to the jury for deliberations sometime Thursday.