A US Man Who Was Found Guilty Of Murdering A BC Couple Just Had His Conviction Overturned

He was given two life sentences.

Western Canada Editor
A US Man Who Was Found Guilty Of Murdering A BC Couple Just Had His Conviction Overturned

The bodies of a young couple from Saanich, B.C. were found in 1987, leading to an investigation that took 31 years to solve.

Then, in 2018, Earl Talbott was arrested and found guilty of two counts of first-degree aggravated murder.

He was given two life sentences for the murder of 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg and 20-year-old Jay Cook. On December 7, that conviction has been reversed.

According to the decision from the Division 1 Court of Appeals in Washington state on December 6, Cook and Van Cuylenborg travelled to Seattle to run an errand for Cook's father.

Six days later, Van Cuylenborg's body was found with a gunshot wound in her head. The next day, the van that the couple were driving was found. A day after that, Cook's body was found with wounds to his head.

It wasn't until 2018 that genealogy matching allowed for Talbott to be identified as a possible source of the unknown male DNA profile they found at the scene of the crime.

Police then went undercover to surveil Talbott and get his DNA from a coffee cup he threw out. From this, they were able to match his DNA to that which was found on the scene.

According to the decision, Talbott appealed his sentence after being convicted, on the grounds that juror 40 on his case had "expressed actual bias."

Juror 40 admitted that their mother experienced domestic abuse and that they were unsure if they could be unbiased if action against young women was involved.

Due to this, Talbott's conviction has now been overturned.

Morgan Leet
Western Canada Editor
Morgan Leet is the Western Canada Editor for Narcity Canada's Western Desk focused on interprovincial travel, and is based in Vancouver.
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