Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Guilty Verdict in Amber Kirwan's Death Won't Erase Family's Pain, Crown Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Guilty Verdict in Amber Kirwan's Death Won't Erase Family's Pain, Crown Says

Article excerpt

Falconer guilty of first-degree murder


PICTOU, N.S. - A conviction in the slaying of Amber Kirwan cannot erase the pain still felt by her loved ones, the Crown said Tuesday as the young woman's killer was found guilty of first-degree murder.

A jury convicted Christopher Alexander Falconer on the second day of deliberations at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Pictou following three weeks of testimony.

Family members sat silently and Kirwan's mother dabbed her eyes with a tissue as Falconer, 31, was given an automatic sentence of life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

"Their sense of relief I believe was palpable, but this is a tragedy that I don't think they'll ever get past," Crown attorney Bill Gorman said after the verdict.

Falconer, a stocky, bespectacled man, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Kirwan. The 19-year-old aspiring nurse vanished after leaving a pool hall in New Glasgow on Oct. 9, 2011.

Her naked, bound remains were discovered face down in a clandestine grave about a month later in nearby Heathbell.

Falconer pleaded guilty in a separate case to second-degree murder as a teenager for strangling a cab driver in 1998. He was 15 at the time of that murder, but was ordered to stand trial as an adult. He was granted full parole after serving 12 years in prison.

Falconer did not react when the verdict was read. His parents, sitting two rows behind him, sighed heavily. They declined comment outside court.

Kirwan's mother, Marjorie Kirwan, was asked by a reporter whether she was pleased with the verdict.

"Very," she replied, before retreating to a private room with her family.

Despite the conviction, there are a number of questions that remain unanswered, including how Kirwan was abducted, where she was killed and when.

There's also the question of why Falconer killed Kirwan, a woman he told police he had never met. …

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