CALGARY — The first victim in a 2017 quadruple homicide was held for ransom, tortured then ultimately shot, while the other three victims were murdered to eliminate potential witnesses, a seven-man, five-woman jury was told Monday. 

Crown prosecutor Heather Morris made her opening remarks to the jury saying cyclists discovered the body of Hanock Afowerk, 26, on July 12, 2017 in the grass on the side of Highway 22, just west of Calgary.

“His body showed evidence of restraint, torture and captivity. He had also been shot,” said Morris.

Two days earlier, fire and police were called to a burning vehicle at a construction site in the northwest community of Sage Hill. 

The bodies of three people, Glynnis Fox, 36, her older sister Tiffany Ear, 39, and Cody Pfeiffer, 25, were found in the back seat of the Chevrolet Cruz, owned by Hanock Afowerk.

“Autopsies of the three victims determined they had been shot and killed prior to the fire,” Morris told court. 

“These horrific discoveries set in motion a large-scale police investigation into these deaths.”

Yu Chieh Liao, also known as Diana Liao, 27, and Tweodros Kebede, 27, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Afowerk.

Morris said the investigation revealed a timeline of events.

On the night of July 9, 2017, Afowerk had plans to meet Liao to sell her false identification.

Shortly after they met, Afowerk was captured by both accused and several others.

“The victim, Cody Pfeiffer was present at the time of Hanock Afowerk’s murder,” said Morris.

Morris said in the early hours of July 10, Afowerk’s body was dumped outside the city. Later that morning, Pfeiffer, Ear and Fox were killed, the jury was told. The prosecutor said the Chevy Cruz was then driven to Sage Hill, where it was set on fire with the three victims inside.

No one has been charged in the deaths of Fox, Ear and Pfeiffer. But the jury will have to decide if Liao and Kebede took steps to cover up the deaths.

Outside court, Troy Pfeiffer, Cody's father, said he travelled two hours from southern Alberta to be a voice for his son. Monday would have been Cody’s 28th birthday. 

“The biggest reason to drive here, doesn’t matter what the weather or what’s going on, is solely Cody’s Justice,” said Pfeiffer. 

He said what’s difficult is knowing there has not been an arrest in his son’s death yet.

“Hearing there is no-one charged is like sticking a knife in your heart. You try to stay optimistic that the justice system will prove otherwise but as it goes not it’s just heart crushing,” he said.

Family members of Ear and Fox were also in the courtroom. They left behind 16 children between them. 

Calgary police tell CTV the investigation remains open and police will follow any new leads.

The jury will begin hearing witness testimony on Tuesday. The trial is scheduled for six weeks.