Trial begins for Coquitlam man accused of killing his mother
The trial of Blake Salemink, the young man accused of setting a house fire that killed his mother, begins this week in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
The fire tore through a home in the 2500-block of Burian Drive in Coquitlam at about 5 a.m. in April 2010. Once police and fire crews arrived, they found the home engulfed in flames, with heavy smoke and flames venting through the roof.
Crews found 59-year-old Collette Salemink on the main floor during their primary search. They removed her and started medical treatment before taking her to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Coquitlam Fire and Rescue Chief Tony Delmonico said at the time investigators believed she succumbed to the smoke and gas from the fire.
Coquitlam RCMP said officers had visited the home in the past, including as recently as the week before the fire.
The woman's son, Blake Salemink, was living with her at the time.
He is facing charges of manslaughter, arson and arson causing bodily harm.
The trial started Monday and is expected to last for three weeks.