A 44-year-old Langford man has been charged with first degree murder relating to the death of Gordon Berg, who was found dead at his Mill Hill home Monday night.
Joseph Knelsen made his first appearance in Western Communities Courthouse Wednesday morning on the murder charge. Police expect to recommend more charges in upcoming days or weeks.
Knelsen, with scruffy, receding brown hair, betrayed little emotion on his face during the short hearing. His next appearance is March 16 in Supreme Court in Victoria. He was remanded to the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre.
The RCMP Island District tactical troop officers conducted a grid search Wednesday around the home at 2557 Jeanine Dr., where police found Berg, 53, deceased in his main-floor suite around 11 p.m. Monday.
As of Wednesday, forensic investigators remained in the home, conducting a methodical search.
Police have released little on the sequence of events or the relationship between the two men, other than that they were known to each other.
Two women, who are also known to the men, were also at the house Monday evening and are police witnesses, although it remains unclear what they saw.
“The women are under our care, they are co-operating,” said Cpl. Darren Lagan with Island District RCMP. “It was a very traumatic situation.”
Police have called in the Greater Victoria Victim Services counsellors for the two women.
Police investigators quickly learned the identity of the suspect Monday night. Early Tuesday morning, RCMP major crimes investigators and West Shore RCMP officers arrested Knelsen without incident near Western Speedway.
“This was not a random incident,” Lagan said. “As to why this happened, we’ve got to answer those questions.”
Lagan confirmed a weapon was involved, but investigators are not releasing details. RCMP investigators entered the house with a search warrant midday Tuesday.
Two investigators canvassed neighbouring houses Tuesday morning, and by midday, a handful of forensic investigators clad in white jumpsuits were in the house.
Neighbours on Jeanine Drive were shocked to hear news of a murder on their quiet residential street. Peter Scheeren, who lives across the street, said in his 33 years living on Jeanine Drive he’s never seen a police car.
“Sometimes you wish they (police) would come around, but they don’t,” he said, noting that he’d seen and heard large, noisy gatherings across the road.
Neighbour Jane Frankson, a 32 year resident on the street, said she didn’t hear any commotion at the house until “lights and sirens woke us up.” She doesn’t know her next door neighbours and trees and a rock obscures the sight lines, but she said cars come and go from the property.
Another neighbour who lives next-door said she remembers seeing police at the property around Christmas. But like other neighbours, she didn’t know the deceased man.
“We keep to ourselves up here,” said a next-door neighbour, who didn’t want her name printed. “I hear gun shots sometimes, but ignore them. They’re usually just people shooting at deer in the back.”
Officers with the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit are leading the investigation, assisted by West Shore RCMP members and the RCMP police dog service.
Lagan said West Shore RCMP officers have visited the home periodically, and that the four people involved are “known, but not well known by police.”
The 44-year-old suspect was not known to police for violence. Over the past three years, Berg has been convicted several times of theft under $5,000, and once on possession of stolen property and a charge related to using a forged document.
The B.C. Coroners Service performed an autopsy on Berg on Wednesday. The time of his death has non been released by police.
Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact the West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
—with files from Sam Van Schie and Charla Huber