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Bloody shoes found in bags linked to prints at Metchosin crime scene

Escaped inmates Zachary Armitage and James Lee Busch are charged with killing Martin Payne
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James Lee Busch (left) and Zachary Armitage are charged with the first-degree murder of 60-year-old Martin Payne after they escaped William Head institution on July 7, 2019. (Correctional Service of Canada/Facebook)

Shoe prints left in the home of a 60-year-old Metchosin man who was killed in 2019 were linked by forensic investigators to shoes left in bags of blood-covered objects.

The trial of James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage, who are charged with the first-degree murder of Martin Payne after they escaped the William Head Institution, continues in Vancouver. The jury heard last week that Asics and New Balance shoes were among the many bloody items found in garbage bags in the Metchosin man’s bedroom.

On Monday, an RCMP forensic identification specialist said she identified connections between the sneakers and several shoe impressions left in Payne’s ensuite bathroom, where his body was found.

Two bloody shoe prints found on the toilet bowl’s rim were connected to the pair of black-coloured Asics Gel-Cumulus sneakers. Cpl. Kimberley Sarson, the RCMP forensic expert who photographed and examined the case’s evidence, said the left Asics shoe left a print that was classified as an identification – the top-match result out of five possible footwear impression analysis outcomes where the known footwear made the impression.

“It was my opinion that the particular known footwear was the source that made that impression,” Sarson told the court.

The pair of New Balance found in the bedroom’s garbage bags were linked to a partial print left in blood on the bathroom’s linoleum floor, which was overlapping with several other impressions. One of the size 10 New Balance shoes was classified as a possible source of the scene impression.

The court previously heard that a pair of size 10 New Balance shoes were found in Busch’s William Head cell.

The New Balance and Asics sneakers found at the scene were found with blood on them inside the garbage bags, Sarson previously testified.

Another pair of New Balance shoes were found on Payne’s master bedroom floor, but those didn’t match any impressions left at the scene.

Sarson examined another bloody footwear trace on the toilet rim and concluded it could’ve been a possible impression left by the Asics shoe. The connection was determined to be a “higher degree of association” – which falls one classification below identification on the five-outcome system. The result received this classification because the impression shared accidental characteristics with the shoe, meaning it could match unique elements of the shoe, like its wear and tear.

Another bloody print on the floor was classified as an “association of class characteristics” with the New Balance shoe, meaning the shoe could’ve made that impression at the scene but it also could’ve been left by another shoe with the same brand and model. This result also requires that no accidental characteristics were found.

The footwear analyses were also verified by another officer.

The trial continues on Tuesday, for more coverage, go to goldstreamgazette.com.

READ: Forensics expert testifies inmates’ fingerprints found in home, truck of slain Metchosin man


jake.romphf@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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