A Northwest Territories man serving a life sentence for murder has pleaded guilty to stabbing a fellow inmate 43 times at the Edmonton prison where both are incarcerated.
Denecho King appeared at the Court of King’s Bench in Edmonton on Tuesday, where he was slated to begin trial with fellow inmate Damien Bryson. The pair were accused of assaulting another inmate in 2020.
Soon after, the Crown withdrew the charges against Bryson, who has since died.
King plead guilty to aggravated assault.
An agreed-upon statement of facts detailed the incident in question.
Just after noon on Sept. 18, 2020, King and Bryson attacked the victim in a fenced-in exercise yard at Edmonton Institution, the maximum-security prison where all three were serving sentences.
King used a two-inch makeshift knife in the attack. Medical staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital later determined that the victim had been stabbed 43 times. The attack left him with a litany of serious injuries, including a partially collapsed lung and a perforated abdomen.
The attack was stopped when prison staff discharged pepper spray at the three men involved.
The entire 25-second attack was caught on prison cameras, but neither the victim nor a fourth man who was in the exercise yard at the time of the attack cooperated with investigators.
King is scheduled to be sentenced in the spring.
He is currently serving a life sentence for second-degree murder, stemming from the 2014 death of John Wifladt.
The incident occurred at an apartment building in Yellowknife. King, who was 22 at the time, attacked both Wifladt and another man with a pair of decorative, Japaneses-style katanas. The other victim survived the attack, but Wifladt did not.
King was found guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in 2018, after the RCMP’s forensic inspection revealed that his DNA was found “in large quantities on the handles of the two bloodied swords located near the bodies.”
In 2020, King appealed those charges. His lawyer at the time suggested that the presence of his DNA on the swords was the result of contamination. However, the Court of Appeal called the amount of King’s DNA on the sword handles “indisputable evidence,” just as trial judge Andrew Mahar had originally suggested.
King will not be eligible for parole on his murder conviction until 2027.