'I feel numb': Son heartbroken after charges stayed against father's murder suspect

WATCH: The family of a 62-yaer-old man who was murdered in his own home has learned that the investigation into the crime was botched. Rumina Daya explains what it means.

Joseph Crothers is losing hope that he’ll ever know why his father was murdered in Abbotsford two years ago.

The body of 62-year-old Clarence John Crothers was found in his apartment in the 33000-block of Baum Street on July 4, 2017. Investigators said his injuries were consistent with a homicide.

More than a month later, 51-year-old Jeffrey Charles Halicki of Abbotsford was charged with second-degree murder in connection with Clarence’s death.


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On Tuesday, Crothers says he met with investigators from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) and Crown counsel, who informed him the charges against Halicki had been stayed, citing issues with the forensic evidence.

“I feel numb,” the son told Global News Wednesday. “It’s been two years of waiting to get to this point, not being given any information, digging for information on my own time. I was given information everything was moving as planned, the case was looking good. And then I got the news.”

The BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) confirmed Crown reviewed the file materials in preparation for trial, only to find the evidence “no longer satisfies the charge assessment standard for the continued prosecution of Mr. Halicki.”

WATCH: (Aug. 14, 2017) Abbotsford man charged with second-degree murder

Crown would not speak to what issues were found, or why they hadn’t been found before the charge was originally approved.

They did explain that, under law, any possibility of reasonable doubt must be dealt with by prosecutors through the evidence.

“The person accused of a crime does not have to prove that he or she did not commit the crime,” the BCPS said in an email.

“Rather, the Crown bears the burden of proof from beginning to end.”


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Crothers says he was told the lawyer looking into the case had questions about inconsistencies within the evidence.

That lawyer then forwarded those questions to IHIT investigators, who agreed that the inconsistencies didn’t add up, according to what Crothers says he was told.

“It’s as if no one double-checked or triple-checked that information over the past two years,” he said.

IHIT referred any questions regarding the case to prosecutors, only saying they did a “fulsome investigation.”

WATCH: (Dec. 1, 2017) First-degree murder charges stayed against notorious B.C. gangster

Crothers, who says he had “high hopes” at the beginning of the case after Halicki was arrested, is now left wondering how that fulsome investigation could somehow lead to nothing.

“They had 50 officers assigned to the case, who took 160 statements,” he said. “Yet somehow, a failure took place. And all I got was an apology .”

At the time of his death, Clarence was disabled, using a wheelchair and relying on oxygen tanks to breathe. Police said he and Halicki knew each other but would not speak to how, nor would they speculate on a motive.


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Family and friends said Halicki lived with his mother across the street from Clarence in a low-income housing development run by a non-profit for single adults 55 years or older.

Days after the murder, Crothers surveyed his father’s apartment and found no signs of a struggle or violence. None of Clarence’s medication or money had been taken either — making the motive even more of a mystery.

Crothers is worried the stayed charges means he won’t get the answers he’s been looking for ever since.

“I’m left wondering if anyone’s going to be held accountable,” he said.

“I’ve been through may things in life, and for this to happen? It’s still not real.”

—With files from Rumina Daya and John Hua

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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