Financial records show a man accused of killing Eduardo Balaquit during the course of a robbery was drowning in debt and had defaulted on several loans, jurors heard Monday.

Financial records show a man accused of killing Eduardo Balaquit during the course of a robbery was drowning in debt and had defaulted on several loans, jurors heard Monday.

“Determining someone’s financial status can lead to a motive for a crime,” Winnipeg Police Service Sgt. Michael Macdonald told jurors.

Balaquit, 59, disappeared June 4, 2018 after leaving home for Westcon Equipment and Rentals on Keewatin Street, where he had a contract as a cleaner. His body has never been found.

Thirty-six-year-old Kyle Pietz, a former employee at Westcon, is on trial for manslaughter. Prosecutors allege Pietz killed Balaquit during a robbery and forced him to disclose his bank card numbers.

Macdonald said a probe into Pietz’s financial records from April 24, 2018 to June 11, 2018, revealed he had taken out loans with five commercial lenders totalling more than $60,000 and had defaulted on all of them. He had also maxed out three credit cards with a total balance of more than $8,000.

Pietz wasn’t working during that time period, having quit Westcon May 16, three weeks after $1,700 was stolen from a company petty cash box.

Pietz was ultimately charged in the theft, but prosecutors later stayed the charge, Macdonald testified.

Under cross examination, defence lawyer Brett Taylor suggested Macdonald’s investigation did not offer a full picture of Pietz’s finances, noting he would have had access to pension funds after quitting Westcon.

According to an agreed statement of facts provided to jurors, Pietz’s sister positively identified him as the man captured on security video using Balaquit’s bank card to withdraw money from an ATM at an Ellice Avenue 7-Eleven store, shortly after midnight on June 5, 2018.

For comparison, Holly Pietz was also shown security video showing Pietz purchasing items at a Keewatin Avenue Safeway and liquor mart a day earlier.

Holly Pietz said she could identify her brother as the man in the 7-Eleven video by his height, build and “distinctive way of walking.”

Court heard in previous testimony a suspect had withdrawn $700 from the bank machine using Balaquit’s CIBC debit card.

Justice Sadie Bond cautioned jurors that while lawyers for the Crown and defence agreed Holly Pietz believed what she told police was true, the defence does not accept what she said was in fact true or accurate.

Earlier Monday, three Westcon employees testified they saw Kyle Pietz’s blue Ford Escape either in the vicinity or in the parking lot of the business the evening Balaquit disappeared.

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.