A man charged in a 2014 Saskatoon murder case set out to prove his innocence when he wrote two letters before taking his own life, according to his now former lawyer .
John MacAulay was on remand awaiting trial on charges of second degree murder and offering an indignity to a body in the 2014 death of Norman Playter.Both MacAulay and Playter were members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.MacAulay was on remand awaiting trial on charges of second degree murder and offering an indignity to a body in the 2014 death of Norman Playter.Both MacAulay and Playter were members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.
On Friday, the case took a major twist when MacAulay was found dead in his cell at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.MacAulay was found dead in his cell at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.
Before his suicide, MacAulay mailed the letters from the jail to defence lawyer Kevin Hill. The letters contained explosive details about the alleged crime.defence lawyer Kevin Hill. The letters contained explosive details about the alleged crime.
“I was curious because I wasn’t expecting any correspondence from him,” Hill said describing his reaction to finding the letter on his desk Friday morning.
Hill said as he read it soon became apparent that MacAulay had or was planning to take his own life. It prompted him to contact the correctional centre where he later learned MacAulay had killed himself at 5 a.m., five hours before he opened the letter.
Hill didn’t want to talk about specific details in the letters because they have now been handed over to the RCMP. He said MacAulay confessed in them to having a role in disposing of Player’s body, but proclaimed he had nothing to do with his killing.
“I spent the weekend processing the information. I knew what he wanted me to do, but I had some ethical issues I was considering,” Hill said.
On Tuesday, Hill received a second package in the mail containing two more letters. Hill said the package contained a full release from solicitor-client privilege and instructions to share information from the previous note with media and police.
Hill said the letters indicated MacAulay had been bothered by some threats from within the jail that could impact his family in Ontario.
“They made him aware, that they were aware that he had family at a specific address in Ontario,” Hill said.
RCMP spokeswoman Mandy Maier confirmed police are aware of material relating to the Playter case, but declined to comment further until investigators have had a chance to review it.
“If it is determined that further investigation is warranted additional steps may be taken at that time.”
Inmate not on suicide watch
MacAulay was not on suicide watch and had no known mental health issues before his death, according to a government spokesperson.
Kathy Young said although there is significant video monitoring in provincial jails, most cells do not have cameras in them. She stated regularly cell checks are done to ensure the safety and security of inmates.
“We have been ensured by the director at Saskatoon Correctional Centre that a cell check was done and the inmate was breathing,” the statement read.
in her statement, Young also stated MacAulay’s letters to his lawyer were not monitored as these are considered solicitor client privileged communication.