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Speculation of motive present in 3rd witness testimony of Thauberger murder trial

The trial for the man accused of killing his brother continued on Friday, with a third Thauberger brother taking the stand.

Court heard from James Thauberger, who said he and Patrick had grown close in the year leading up to Patrick’s disappearance. James told court that Patrick stayed with him and his wife three times between February and September of 1997.

On the day in question, James recalled speaking with Patrick briefly in the morning before taking a conference call for work.

“We spoke for about 30 seconds and he said, ‘I got to go to Joe’s for a meeting then catch the bus,’” James told the courtroom.

He remembered Patrick had a business meeting with Joseph at 9 a.m. on Sept. 3 1997, before catching his bus back to Edmonton between 1:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

“Patrick had stated the evening before that he would be meeting with Joseph at 9 a.m. on September 3rd, the day he was planning to leave, for the sole purpose of Patrick’s intent to sell the farm land, which Joe didn’t want him to do,’” James said.

James testified Patrick’s meeting went long, an hour and a bit past the time he was supposed to drop Patrick off.

“Patrick was quite anxious at that point because we were an hour later to meet Joseph who wanted to go harvest,” he explained.

When they arrived, Joseph was leaning against the house.

James said he dropped Patrick off at Joseph’s house at 2721 Francis St., where the two began speaking while James put Patrick’s things, a duffle bag and a green box, just inside the kitchen.

“Joe was being uncharacteristically quiet,” James stated.

James recalled staying for about 10 minutes, before having to go to work.

“Patrick walked over and shook my hand which I found a little unusual because we already said our goodbyes,” he told the courtroom.

When James drove away, he told the courtroom that Joseph and Patrick were still standing outside with no motion to enter the house.

In the days that followed, James testified to hearing his wife tell him Patrick missed a meeting with his publicist in regards to the book he was writing.

James said he called Patrick’s closest confidant, Fred Perrin who lived in St. Albert, then Perrin and his two sisters, Mary Ann and Jane went to Alberta to see if they could find Patrick.

According to James, when Patrick was reported missing, Joseph was to call the Regina Police and look after the lands, and James was to go to Alberta.

The Crown asked James if he and joseph ever spoke about Patrick leaving.

“Vague recollection Joseph said he had dropped Patrick off early, 12:30, quarter to one because Joe was anxious to harvest,” James responded.

James also testified that he remembers Joseph telling him he heard from Patrick either that night or the next day.

The Crown then brought up the business Joseph and Patrick had together— owning farmland, to James’ knowledge.

“It would be fair to say that from Patrick’s perspective, was that he had profoundly regretted having ever gone into business with Joseph because he said, ‘It was the biggest mistake he had ever made.’”

This statement was from sometime before the incident on Sept. 3 1997, according to James.

The Crown read emails exchanged between Joseph, his siblings, children, and son-in-laws in the summer of 2020 where Joseph repeatedly stated that the land Patrick owned was actually Joseph’s and that he never paid or did any work for them.

Once the family established Patrick was presumed dead in the courts, approved by a judge Dec. 15 2014, James became the administrator of the estate.

He testified to both the Crown, and in cross-examination to the defence, that Joseph was the sole beneficiary of Patrick’s pension and life insurance policy.

James stated that the pension and life insurance policy were originally in his estate, then moved to assigned them to Joanna, a girlfriend years prior, before re-assigning them back to estate, then “moved to Joseph exclusively."

The defence asked James if he knew for certain whether Patrick in fact invested $400,000 into the farm business with Joseph, to which the witness replied, “Patrick told me that.”

The Crown rested its case on Friday afternoon, and after cross-examination, the trial was adjourned until Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

The defense plans on entering evidence with Joseph in person in court at that time. Top Stories

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