Elizabeth Wettlaufer is escorted out of the Woodstock courthouse, April 21, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Wettlaufer Trial Inching Closer

The Woodstock woman accused of murdering eight residents of long term care homes is getting closer to facing trial for her alleged crimes.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer appeared in a Woodstock court on Friday morning, wearing a white shirt and black pants. Her hands were cuffed and her legs in irons as she was escorted through the courtroom and into the prisoner’s box. Friday marked only the second time since being charged last fall that Wettlaufer has appeared in person.

Justice Bruce Thomas pointed out that the case has arrived in Superior court “relatively quickly” and expressed a desire to “keep the momentum going.”

His desire to keep the wheels of justice in motion were shared by Crown lawyer Fraser Kelly, who told the court there is “significant public interest in this case.”

Kelly pushed for a judicial pre-trial date to be set for May 12. It will allow for the Crown and Wettlaufer’s defence team to go over the evidence that will be presented at trial. Wettlaufer is to appear via video link from the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton on that date.

Speaking to reporters outside of the courthouse, Andrea Silcox, the daughter of alleged victim James Silcox, said she was shocked by Wettlaufers physical appearance.

“I thought wow, she is doing quite well in prison,” said Silcox. “[Wettlaufer] looks well, she is not in their prison outfit anymore, she has her hair done, she is all prettied up. Must be nice. I thought, how dare you walk in here so smug after supposedly murdering my father and other people.”

Andrea Silcox with her father James Silcox's bracelet from the Second World War, April 21, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Andrea Silcox with her father James Silcox’s bracelet from the Second World War, April 21, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Susan Horvath shows reporters a photo of her and her father, Arpad Horvath Sr. taken on his 70th birthday. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Susan Horvath shows reporters a photo of her and her father, Arpad Horvath Sr. taken on his 70th birthday. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Silcox wore her father’s Second World War bracelet to court. The silver bracelet is engraved with her father’s name on one side and the words “the family” on the other.

She was not the only one to bring a family memento to court for strength. Susan Horvath, whose father Arpad Horvath Sr. died at Meadow Park in August 2014, brought a photo of her and her father taken on his 70th birthday in 2008.

“It was taken at his favourite restaurant, the Mandarin in London. It was a really great day,” said Horvath, who couldn’t bring herself to look at Wettlaufer in the courtroom Friday.

“I don’t think she deserves me to look at her,” said Horvath. “That was my dad. When this happens to somebody, it’s not easy.”

Horvath’s brother, Arpad Jr., said he saw Wettlaufer eyeing them in the courtroom. He said seeing her made him feel both anger and hatred. Arpad Jr. believes the courts are moving as quickly as they can on this case and stressed the importance for the families to stick together.

“We are rallying together and becoming closer and closer… I like to reach out and get to know these people because their lives were effected as tremendously as mine was,” said Arpad Jr. “It’s easier together than it is by yourself.”

Wettlaufer was arrested on October 25 and charged with eight counts of first degree murder in the deaths of seven residents of Caressant Care in Woodstock and one resident of Meadow Park nursing home in London. The eight residents ranged in age from 75-96 and died between 2007-2014.

Additional charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault were laid against Wettlaufer on January 13, the last time she made a court appearance in person. Those charges relate to residents of long-term care homes in Woodstock and Paris, as well as a private home in Oxford County.

The case began picking up steam during Wettlauffer’s April 7 court appearance, when the former nurse waived her right to a preliminary hearing.