WINNIPEG – After an 11 week delay because of scheduling issues, the trial for a Winnipeg woman accused of hiding the remains of six infants resumed Monday morning.
Andrea Giesbrecht, 42, was arrested in October 2014 after the grisly discovery inside a U-Haul storage locker on McPhillips Street.
In yet another twist to the high-profile trial, Crown attorneys called Giesbrecht’s own son to the witness stand after Monday’s lunch break.
That did not sit well with Giesbrecht’s husband who clashed with lawyers outside the courtroom. After a brief delay, Giesbrecht’s son was on the witness stand – his identity protected by a court order.
He told court he does not remember his mother being pregnant or even seeing a shift in her weight.
Medical experts have already testified the infants were either full term or very close to that point and were likely to have been born alive.
DNA evidence collected from a soiled sanitary napkin found in Giesbrecht’s closet has matched to the infants, according to those experts. However, investigators never actually obtained Giesbrecht’s DNA. They did get a warrant for Giesbrecht’s husband during the initial investigation.
Under cross-examination, her son agreed with his mother’s lawyer that many women often visited the home and would use the washroom that was located near the closet where the napkin was found.
Defense lawyer Greg Brodsky has asserted throughout the trial the DNA found on the napkin could have come from anyone.
Court also heard from the manager of another storage company that Giesbrecht used from 1999 to 2008 and again from 2010 to 2014.
Karen Bodoano with Sentinel Self Storage testified that Giesbrecht rented a large locker that was heated, but only stored a few items: a pail and some plastic bins.
She said it was unusual for someone to keep such a small amount of items in such a large locker.
“The answer I got once was that she had things she couldn’t keep at home like her jewelry,” said Bodoano who added that staff recommended to Giesbrecht that she move the items out and save some money.
Earlier this year court was told that some of the infant remains were found in plastic bins, pails and garbage bags.
Bodoano mentioned that Giesbrecht was constantly behind on her rental payments and was forced to cut locks on more than one occasion, but Giesbrecht would eventually pay up.
Giesbrecht closed her account on June 2, 2008 only to return on May 31, 2010 and rent another locker, according to Bodoano. She also testified that Giesbrecht closed her account for the last time and moved her items out in March 2014.
Giesbrecht would then be arrested seven months later.
She remains free on bail with her trial expected to last at least another month. Giesbrecht has not been charged with killing or harming the infants, only concealing their remains.