Day three wrap of Mistawasis manslaughter trial
One of the crowns’ most anticipated witnesses took the stand Thursday at the Curtis Nataucappo manslaughter trial at the Prince Albert Court of Queen’s Bench.
Terry Pechawis admitted to being at the scene of the crime on April 18, 2001 but vehemently denies that he was the person who killed Alexander Ronald Sanderson.
He testified that he first met Curtis Nataucappo in Saskatoon where they would do drugs together. Together, they stole a white car -- possibly a Buick -- and headed to the Mistawasis First Nation.
Pechawis said he and Nataucappo ran into Sanderson at a bar in Mont Nebo, just north of the reserve. He seemed pretty intoxicated and asked for a ride home. At some point along the way, Sanderson passed out in the back seat and when Pechawis arrived at the home where Sanderson was staying, he would not wake up. After stopping by another family member’s home, they went to the Mistawasis band office, where Pechawis met with Dwayne Badger who was working as a night janitor.
Pechawis testified that he left Nataucappo in the passenger seat of their stolen car, with Sanderson still passed out in the back.
Approximately 15 minutes later, he says Nataucappo came running up to the building, saying that Sanderson had driven away in the stolen car.
Pechawis then told the jury that he asked Badger to give them a ride so they could find Sanderson. Eventually they spotted him and a chase ensued. Sanderson finally slowed down, and that’s when Pechawis said he snuck up to the passenger side of the car, jumped through the window, grabbed the wheel and slammed on the breaks.
At this moment, Pechawis said he heard Sanderson say, “he stabbed me”.
Pechawis said he looked down, noticed the blood, and jumped out of the car in shock. He then saw that Nataucappo was dragging Sanderson’s body out from the driver side of the car and towards a nearby ditch.
He immediately told Badger to call an ambulance, then Pechawis jumped
into the passenger side of the stolen white car as Nataucappo got
behind the wheel and they drove back to Saskatoon.
Pechawis says his decision to leave was made in a panic and stressed that he never touched the body or helped move it.
He says the ride back to Saskatoon was very quiet, and he never asked what had happened because he was still in shock. When the crown asked about Nataucappo’s demeanor, Pechawis said he seemed pretty normal about everything.
Upon returning to Saskatoon, Pechawis said that was when he and Nataucappo parted ways after dumping the car in a parking lot.
As for where the knife came from, Pechawis testified that to be best of his knowledge, he did not have any weapons on his person that night and neither did Nataucappo.
However, he did say that when they first stole the car, he had noticed some knives in some fishing stuff.
Defence council Greg Chovin began his cross examination by bringing Pechawis’ history as an intravenous cocaine user to light and focused on his extensive criminal history. Chovin also insinuated that Pechawis would often carry concealed weapons on his person and brought up discrepancies with Thursday's testimony when compared with the answers given by Pechawis at a preliminary hearing and formal statements given to police officers in 2010.
Towards the end of the cross examination, Pechawis admitted that he never saw Nataucappo actually stab Sanderson but offered to take either a lie detector test or be placed under hypnosis. Chovin then suggested that it was in fact Pechawis who did have the knife that night and it was he who stabbed Sanderson.
The trial continues today.
See related: Mistawasis manslaughter trial's second day