Accused's IQ at issue in Canada serial murder case

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NEW WESTMINSTER, British Columbia, Oct 16 (Reuters) A psychologist who tested accused Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton said today that low scores on an intelligence test did not mean Pickton could not have committed murder.

Larry Krywaniuk, an expert witness called by Pickton's defense team, also told the court that while Pickton scored below average on the tests, his IQ was not low enough for him to be considered mentally retarded.

Krywaniuk sparred with prosecutors over his earlier testimony that Pickton might not have understood all the questions police put to him after he was arrested in February 2002 on the first two of what would eventually become 26 murder charges. He is currently on trial on six of the charges.

Prosecutors say Krywaniuk has attempted to imply that Pickton's intelligence was lower than it really is. Pickton, 57, watched the exchanges from the prisoner's box, taking the occasional note but showing no emotion.

Police say Pickton claimed during the lengthy interrogation and related jailhouse conversation with an undercover officer that he was responsible for nearly 50 murders and planned to conduct more.

Pickton has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges and denied he confessed to any killings -- although he has acknowledged the remains of six women were found on his ramshackle farm in the Vancouver suburb of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.

The women Pickton is accused of killing were among more than 60 drug addicts and prostitutes who disappeared from poor Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighborhood from the the late 1980s until late 2001.

Police say he lured the women to his property, killed them and used the farm's slaughterhouse and pigs to help dispose of the remains.

Prosecutor Michael Petrie asked Krywaniuk if the testing he performed on Pickton after his arrest meant that he could not have plotted the killings.

''The instrument was not designed to do that, so the answer is no,'' Krywaniuk said.

Krywaniuk is one of the last witnesses expected to be called by defense attorneys.

This trial deals with only six of the 26 murder charges. The judge split the case into two trials to make it easier to select a jury. A date for the start of the trial on the remaining 20 charges has not been set.

REUTERS CS BST0248

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