Mistawasis manslaughter trial's second day
The second day of the Curtis Nataucappo manslaughter trial continued to focus on the notes taken by officers on the scene over a decade ago. Many of them were non-formal statements given by Dwayne Badger, a self-described witness to the crime who was murdered in 2006.
RCMP Cst. Donovan Kajner was the first person to take the stand Wednesday and told the court that he was stationed on the Mistawasis First Nation in April of 2001. On the date in question, he was directed to pick up Dwayne Badger and bring him to the crime scene in order to give a statement.
Kajner said Badger came willingly but was described as nervous and rattled. He told the court that Badger appeared to be an emotional wreck and used the approximately six minute drive to tell Kajner about the events of the previous night.
According to Kajner’s notes from that day, Badger said Terry Pechawis and an unknown 21-year-old male made him drive to find Alexander Ronald Sanderson in the early morning hours of April 18, 2001. When they found him, Pechawis began slapping Sanderson and the other guy started punching him but it turned out he was stabbing him. Badger then tried to intervene but they turned on him so he stopped.
The next witness was Staff Sgt. Brian Mayrs, who at the time was a lead investigator with major crimes out of Saskatoon, and was the officer that Cst. Kajner was bringing Badger to see that morning.
Mayrs told the court that his conversation with Badger was not a formal Q&A session because he had refused to give a taped or recorded statement. Instead, he described it as Badger “saying this is what happened,” while he took notes.
Mayrs said that Badger told him he had been working at the Mistawasis band office as a janitor when Terry Pechawis and an unknown male came to the door; they had wanted a ride to go find a car.
Badger obliged and they soon came across a white vehicle with Sanderson sitting in the passenger seat. Pechawis got out and approached the driver side and slapped Sanderson and yelled, “You shouldn’t have stolen that car,” before getting into the passenger door of the white car. The unknown male then exited the back seat of Badger’s car, and went up to the driver side door of Sanderson’s car and opened it. By this time Badger had exited the car and Pechawis said to Badger, “he stabbed him”, referring to the unknown male. The younger male then addressed Pechawis, while motioning to Badger, “What should we do with him?” Badger was then told to get lost and he quickly drove off.
At the time, the only description Badger could give about the unknown male was that he had ‘big teeth’.
Under cross examination by defence council Greg Chovin, both officers admitted that they hadn’t conducted rigorous interviews and in Cst. Kajner’s case, did not ask for clarification on Badger’s comments.
Mayrs also said that they had picked up numerous DNA samples from the car, none of which matched Curtis Nataucappo.
The final witness from the second day of testimony was Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim, a forensic pathologist that the Crown brought in as an expert witness.
She concluded from the original pathology report that Sanderson had been stabbed five times and his heart was penetrated twice. The size of the wounds ranged from 1.8 - 2.8 centimetres and those wounds were the cause of death.
It was also surmised from the report that Sanderson did not have any defensive wounds which made her believe that he did not anticipate this attack. Another factor that could have limited his cognitive skills was his blood alcohol level, which was over three times the legal limit.
Upon cross examination, Brooks-Lim said there was no way of telling what position Sanderson could have been in when the attack happened, noting he could have been sitting standing or twisted. She also admitted there was no way to tell how long he could have functioned before passing away, saying that every case is different, but earlier had estimated it could have been anywhere from a matter of seconds to a matter of minutes.
The trial continues today with the crown confirming that Terry Pechawis will be the next witness to take the stand.
See related: Trial begins in 10 year old Mistawasis death