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Musila's ex-boyfriend recalls moving the Rubbermaid bin containing murdered senior

“It seemed heavier than shoes and heavier than bricks, but it didn’t seem what it was,” accused murderer Beryl Musila's ex-boyfriend, Robert Rafters, testified in court.
Court of Queen's Bench

After four weeks and dozens of witnesses, the first-degree murder trial of St. Albert resident Beryl Musila is expected to wrap up over the next week at Court of King’s Bench in Edmonton.

Witnesses have testified Musila enlisted the unwitting help of others to carry and drag a four-foot-by-two-foot duct-taped Rubbermaid tote containing the bludgeoned and stabbed body of 75-year-old St. Albert resident Ronald Worsfold to a number of locations, before leaving it at a dump site on a rural property. 

The Crown alleges Musila drugged Worsfold and beat him to death with a hammer on Friday, July 7, 2017, then loaded his body into the container the next day. 

A jury of eight women, three men and two alternates heard testimony on Saturday, July 8, Musila took the container to addresses in St. Albert and Edmonton, to a hotel in Morinville, to a rural garage sale, over two taxi rides and two pickup truck rides, before the plastic tote was set in the woods of a property at 51223 Range Road 264 in rural Parkland County.

‘She never showed up’

Ex-boyfriend Rob Rafters testified he and Musila saw each other a few times a week over the course of a four-month relationship.

Like other witnesses who knew her at the time of the murder, Rafters seemed to have difficulty recognizing Musila, who is representing herself during the trial. 

“I’m guessing that’s her right there,” he said, gesturing toward Musila sitting in the defence attorney’s spot, her finely braided hair atop her head in a neat bun.

His impression of victim Worsfold, with whom Musila moved in from her apartment in the same complex at 75 Mission Avenue, was that he seemed to be “a decent guy, helpful, kind,” Rafters said.

“(Musila) said he was a guy helping her out; he was a friend,” he said.

Rafters said he expected Musila at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 7, 2017 at the large house he shared with his mother. 

“We had plans to spend the night together … she never showed up,” he said.

He said he tried to reach Musila “every five minutes for three hours.”

“I’m pretty sure she answered her phone twice, both very brief, basically the fact she wasn’t coming over,” Rafters said.

In earlier testimony, jurors heard witnesses testify about how Musila spent her Friday night. Surveillance video placed her with Worsfold at an adult video store in Edmonton where Musila shopped for items and Worsfold paid for them. They appeared to be ordinary shoppers, according to the store clerk. Worsfold was not seen alive again.

Video at a liquor store later that evening showed Musila alone, paying with collector quarters.

Witness Taylor Fisher said he did cocaine and drank alcohol with Musila in the early hours of July 8, in an encounter that included oral sex, after finding her distraught about her life. Fisher said Musila told him not to worry about landlord Worsfold bursting in on them, as he had gone on vacation to Jasper.

Heavier than shoes or bricks

For Rafters, Saturday morning started with a call from Musila, asking if he had old suitcases, bins or boxes, he said. He brought some over.

“She got me to come in the hallway and then go look for Ron,” he said, saying Musila “stuck her nose out” of the apartment.

The victim’s daughter, Stacey Worsfold, testified Musila shouted from the window she was cleaning, and Ron Worsfold had gone for a walk.

Amicus attorney Greg Worobec suggested when Rafters first arrived, he entered the apartment and the door was closed behind him.

“You are extremely wrong,” Rafters said. “I did not enter that apartment … I didn’t come within 16 inches of the door.”

Worobec repeatedly suggested Rafters’ memory was off, citing his drug use at the time and his numerous chronic illnesses.

Rafters acknowledged his memory to be faulty at times, including having timelines sometimes “shredded” by methamphetamine use.

However, he pushed back against Worobec's questions.

“My answer is truthful in every single way … I remember more than you might imagine," Rafters said. "She asked me to wait outside, I waited outside.”

Rafters said Musila told him Worsfold had become angry and gone for a walk. Rafters went looking for Worsfold at Musila's request.

When he got back, Stacey Worsfold was at the building with kids in her van. Rafters recalled her asking him to leave the building, and he did.

A cab showed up shortly, and he moved some items from the landing to the taxi at Musila’s request.

“There was this really heavy bin she’d duct taped closed very well,” he said.

The taxi driver helped lift the bin into the taxi, he said.

He recalled wondering aloud what was in the Rubbermaid tote.

“It seemed heavier than shoes and heavier than bricks, but it didn’t seem what it was,” he said.

“I even commented as a joke, I asked if there were bricks in there or something,” he said.

Musila didn’t even flinch, Rafters said.

“You knew the body of Ronald Worsfold was in that tote,” Worobec insisted.

“I had no idea,” Rafters responded firmly.

She was going to move in, detox, sober up

Under cross-examination, Patrick Tansem, Rafters' friend, said he believed Rafters was in love with Musila.

Tansem said he didn’t approve of the relationship, but wouldn’t go as far as to say he didn’t like Musila. He said he didn’t approve of her behaviour but tolerated her for the sake of his friend.

Rafters had been instructed not to bring Musila to Tansem’s party to mark the end of his parole, Tansem said.

That Saturday, however, Tansem and his mother, Sherry Wick, made allowances.

“That’s the reason she was coming out … she was going to move in so she could detox and sober up,” he said, adding that he had discussed the plan with his mother, the party-cohost.

In her testimony, Wick confirmed she said it was OK for Musila to come out to the house.

“She didn’t have anywhere else to go,” Wick said.

Wick said she hadn’t spoken much with Musila, but she noticed the then-28-year-old getting in the spirit of the party.

“She got all the girls up dancing,” Wick recalled, adding that Musila went in and out to change clothes several times: a dress, then shorts, pants, leggings; high heels, bare feet.

“She’d go back and disappear and come out changed,” Wick said.

Several other witnesses have testified to seeing Musila wearing multiple outfits. 

A drive to two different dump sites

A late-night drive after the Saturday party saw Tansem at the wheel of his truck, accompanied by Musila and Rafters, driving to a makeshift dump site on the property, where Mulisa said she wanted to get rid of some of her belongings.  The large blue Rubbermaid tote wrapped in silver duct tape and containing Worsfold's body was initially deposited elsewhere, both Tansem and Rafters testified. 

“Beryl asked me to put it somewhere else, during the drive to the dump site,” Tansem said, adding although he had been drinking, he wasn’t very intoxicated at the time.

Tansem previously testified after the drive Musila confided she had killed Worsfold by stabbing him in the neck, and gave him a box she said contained the murder weapons. When Worobec suggested Musila never told him anything about a murder, nor anything about murder weapons in a box, Tansem held firm.

“Yes, she did,” Tansem said.

Tansem and his mother’s partner, Yannick Leveille, testified earlier they transferred the large tote to the other main dump site on Sunday, where Musila’s other belongings had been left.

The early morning hours of Sunday went “quite horribly,” Rafters recalled, when he got a call from police.

“I was under the influence of acid and they decided they wanted to talk to me on the phone," Rafters said. "I was tripping on the phone.”

He awoke in a panic Sunday morning, having gotten only a couple hours of sleep.

The call came for Rafters to go to the St. Albert RCMP detachment to give statements regarding the missing Worsfold.

From ‘missing person’ to ‘murder’

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bradfield of the RCMP K-Division Criminal Intelligence program was acting sergeant at the RCMP’s Edmonton Major Crimes Unit at the time.

On the morning of  July 9, 2017, he was briefed on the Worsfold case, then a missing person in suspicious circumstances, after Worsfold's daughter Stacey Worsfold had called the RCMP.

He interviewed Rafters first, then interviewed Maureen Balchan, grandmother to Musila’s two children, who had with her husband given Musila and her things a ride to the party on Saturday evening.

Twenty minutes into the interview, Bradfield got a game-changing phone call.

“A male told me his name was Pat, he’d gotten my phone number from Rob (Rafters).”

As a result of the call with Tansem, he went to the residence at at 51223 Range Road 264 in rural Parkland County.

He saw Musila near the door, and  Bradfield advised her she was under arrest for murder.

Tansem drove with the RCMP to show them the dumpsite.

In the latter part of the trial to date, most cross-examination for the defence was conducted by amicus (friend of the court) Worobec, who is not Musila’s attorney but is appointed not to advocate but to ensure she receives a fair trial. Musila elected to defend herself after firing six attorneys in the six years since her arrest.

At the trial’s start, Musila pleaded guilty to indecently interfering with Worsfold’s remains. His nude body was found manacled and bound in the tote  with duct tape, and stuffed into a large blue Rubbermaid tote. He had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death.

Justice Larry Ackerl is presiding over the trial.

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