Mounties have arrested a fourth person in connection with the 2008 double homicide of Lisa Dudley and Guthrie McKay in Mission, B.C.
Smiling, making hand features and blowing a kiss to the courtroom gallery, Thomas Robert Holden appeared in Surrey Provincial Court on Monday. He is charged with two counts of first degree murder.
Sergeant Jennifer Pound, spokeswoman for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), said Mr. Holden was arrested over the weekend along with another individual. The other person was released without charges.
It is believed Mr. Holden “played a significant role and worked closely with the co-accused to plan and commit the murder(s) of Lisa Dudley and Guthrie McKay,” said IHIT Superintendent Kevin Hackett in a statement.
Earlier, Jack Douglas Woodruff, Justin Andrew Mackinnon and Bruce Ian Main were each been charged with two counts of first degree murder. Mr. Woodruff pleaded guilty to both and is serving a life sentence; Mr. Mackinnon pleaded not guilty and is in custody pending trial; and Mr. Main pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter. He has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Police do not anticipate any further charges in this case, Sgt. Pound said.
Mr. Holden’s demeanor in court on Monday struck a nerve with the parents of the two victims, who characterized him as appearing arrogant and without remorse. Wearing a blue collared shirt and sporting a shaved head, the accused puffed out his chest and seemed at ease in the prisoner’s box, smiling numerous times during his short appearance.
When Rosemarie Surakka held up a photo of her dead daughter, Mr. Holden smiled and put his right hand over his heart. However, it was unclear whether he was gesturing to Ms. Surakka or his family. At another point, he raised both hands to form a heart.
Before he was led out, Mr. Holden blew a kiss to the gallery.
“Perhaps it’s false bravado, perhaps that’s his nature [and] this is the way he is, said Mark Surakka, Rosemarie’s husband and Ms. Dudley’s stepfather. “He’s charged with two counts of murder. If that’s his attitude – if that speaks directly to his heart – then there’s a real problem in there.”
Mr. Holden was once a friend of Ms. Dudley’s, Ms. Surakka said.
Mr. McKay’s father, Patrick, didn’t hide his feelings on seeing Mr. Holden: “As a father, I wanted to punch him in the head. I saw no remorse at all. I just saw evil.”
The September, 2008, murder became mired in controversy when it was learned Constable Mike White, the Mission RCMP officer who responded to a call of shots fired, drove by the Shaw Street home but did not enter or speak to the neighbour who called.
Four days later, a different neighbour entered the home to find Mr. McKay dead and Ms. Dudley, shot twice in the neck, paralyzed but clinging to life. She was taken to hospital but died of cardiac arrest. She was 37.
The court heard Ms. Dudley had been involved in marijuana grow operations for several years and that there had been one in the home where the two were killed.
Constable White was formally reprimanded and docked a day’s pay. He was promoted soon after.
Mr. Holden’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 26.