Decades-old murder of Victoria couple goes to trial in U.S. next week
The trial of a Seattle-area man accused of murdering a Vancouver Island couple 32 years ago is scheduled to begin next week.
William Earl Talbott II, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated first-degree murder, will face a jury in a trial that could last up to four weeks.
Talbott is accused of murdering Saanich residents Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, and Jay Cook, 20. Their bodies were found in Washington state's northern Snohomish County in 1987.
Van Cuylenborg had been bound, shot and sexually assaulted. Cook was also restrained and had been strangled.
The pair was last seen by family members as they boarded the ferry in Victoria for Port Angeles.
Talbott's arrest came 31 years after the murders. Investigators used new technology called snapshot DNA phenotyping that compared DNA from the crime scene to an online genealogy database.
On Tuesday, Tanya's brother John Van Cuylenborg,said last year's arrest was a surprising piece of good news more than three decades after his younger sister's murder.
But he added the pain from the horrific crimes will never fully heal. "It was still certainly an open wound and I think it was for my parents as well," he said. "You never really get over it. It's just something you try to cope with."
John has been asked by the prosecution to testify at the trial, and says he is bracing himself for that experience. "It will be a difficult setting on a difficult day, but it's a necessary part to get to where we want to be in terms of an end result."
He says a conviction would provide some measure of relief, but that relief can only go so far.
"It's still so difficult to understand and just because someone's convicted it doesn't mean you can have closure or come to terms with it. But at least there's closure on some aspects of the story."
Court hearings related to the trial are scheduled for Friday. Jury selection is expected to begin next week, with opening statements on June 13.