Flanagan's friends face accused killer 0
In the small, crowded bail court at the Barrie courthouse, friends of Alexandra Flanagan sat in dread as they waited for police to bring out the man accused of murdering her and dismembering her body.
"I'm afraid to look at him," whispers Alyssa Nesbitt as she sat in the front row, wringing her hands and trembling.
"But I have to be here. It's the least I can do for Alex."
As the door to the jail cells opened, the courtroom fell silent as two armed officers quietly led Andrew Keene, wearing handcuffs, into the prisoner's box.
Charged with first-degree murder and performing an indignity to a dead body, the 29-year-old Innisfil man didn't look the "image of evil" that Flanagan's friends imagined he would.
None of the allegations against Keene have been proven in court.
After waiting in anguish for four long years since the petite 33-year-old Barrie woman disappeared on July 8, 2007, then going through shock as police began to turn up her body parts in different areas of the city, Flanagan's friends said they expected someone big, mean and ugly.
"I imagined he might look like a monster," Nesbitt said quietly.
Still, Nesbitt's eyes well up with tears. She begins to tremble as she stares at Keene.
But the man in the prisoner's box did not look like a monster.
His short dark hair and chiselled, even handsome, features resembled a healthy young man who might be anyone's friendly neighbour.
After a night of no sleep on a cement slab in a Barrie police jail cell -- and likely several intense hours in the interrogation room with detectives -- Keene looked dishevelled, distraught, cold and frightened.
As the charges were read out in court, Keene bowed his head, closed his eyes and winced as if in pain as he listened.
His eyes watered a little as he glanced at his father. Clearly shocked since learning about the charges, Keene's father and other family members appeared solemn as they sat in court.
Other than a minor charge for marijuana possession in 2002 in Barrie, which was eventually stayed, Keene has no criminal record. There were also two speeding tickets in 2010 in Singhampton, where he lived briefly, but nothing from his past that might point to a person who is allegedly a cold-blooded killer.
"I know his charges are not proven in court, but it was hard to look at him just the same," said another of Flanagan's close friends, Larissa Calder, as she cuddled her newborn baby that Flanagan will never get to hold.
For the past four years, Calder has been haunted by images of how her friend might have died, although no one really knows. No one, but the killer. "It breaks my heart when I think about it," Calder said. "I will never have my friend back."
"It certainly is a tragic case," said Keene's lawyer, Mitch Eisen.
"I am sure the family of this young woman (is) terribly upset. My client's family is also extremely upset at this time. It's a tough time for everyone."
However, Eisen has not had a chance to review any of the evidence against Keene and could not say if he will be making an application for a bail hearing in Superior court.
Keene is scheduled to make another court appearance on Nov. 2.