© New Glasgow News - TC Media
Christopher Alexander Falconer.
PICTOU – A 31-year-old Pictou County man has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty in the first-degree murder of Amber Kirwan.
The 15-day trial of Christopher Alexander Falconer ended Tuesday around 2 p.m. with a guilty verdict from the six-woman, six-man jury in Pictou Supreme Court.
The jury deliberated for about seven-and-a-half hours after being given instruction from Justice Nick Scaravelli Monday. They were sequestered that night at a local hotel and continued their deliberations into Tuesday.
After lunch, sheriffs were notified that a verdict had been reached and both the Kirwan and Falconer families were notified. Kirwan’s mother, Marjorie cried as the verdict was read as did Falconer’s step-mother, Sue Kelly. Falconer remained expressionless, as he had during most of the trial.
“Justice is done,” said Crown attorney Bill Gorman following the verdict. “The jury carefully and thoughtfully deliberated the better part of the day. They got our message and they made our finding.”
He said the amount of time deliberations took showed the thoughtfulness of carefully considering the evidence and that they took the process very seriously.
“All of the evidence pointed at Christopher Alexander Falconer,” Gorman said. “That is what I know.”
He said he spoke with the Kirwan family following the verdict and their relief was evident, but their grief will stay with them forever.
“This is a tragedy they (the Kirwans) will never get past,” Gorman said.
As the Kirwans were leaving the courtroom, they declined comment, but when asked by the media if she was pleased by the verdict, Marjorie answered, “very.”
Once the jury was dismissed, Scaravelli immediately sentenced Falconer to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Falconer’s lawyer, Mike Taylor, said he is sure the jury gave some serious thought to the issues and looked closely at the evidence before them.
“I think they did a good job, a fair job. They had the evidence before them and the decision they made can’t come as a complete surprise to anyone. I wish for Mr. Falconer that it was different, but the evidence was there and I can see them reaching that conclusion.”
He said his client is disappointed with the verdict.
“I think he was thinking there was decent of chance of the acquittal because of the time they were taking,” Taylor said.
He said he is not considering appealing the case at this point but he may rethink that over time. He added that an appeal of a jury decision is “extremely difficult.”
Taylor said the issue of change of venue was looked at in the beginning but it's a “high test” to meet and he doesn't regret not making that application.
“I am still satisfied that it wasn’t going to happen anyway,” he said.