The trial of a Fort Liard woman who admits to killing her partner but denies it was intentional started in Yellowknife Monday.
Selena Lomen’s second-degree murder trial in the NWT Supreme Court is expected to last three weeks.
Lomen plead guilty to the lesser crime of manslaughter for stabbing her partner Danny Klondike to death in Fort Liard on Oct. 28, 2018, but the Crown did not accept her plea.
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Francine Kotchea took the stand as the trial’s first witness.
On the night of the attack, Kotchea made the call to RCMP to report Lomen’s assault.
Kotchea lives in the house next to the one Klondike and Lomen shared. On Oct. 28 she told the court that she had fallen asleep on the couch when she heard a loud banging on the door. At first the banging was coming from her neighbour’s house, where Lomen and Klondike resided, but later the knocking was on her own front door.
When she answered, Lomen stood on the other side of the door covered in blood. She told Kotchea to call the health centre because she had “stabbed Danny.”
Kotchea called the health centre and then the RCMP while her common law partner Douglas Bertrand went next door to retrieve Lomen and Klondike’s baby.
Kotchea told the court that when Bertrand arrived at the residence Klondike appeared to still be conscious. When he came out with the baby, he seemed to no longer be breathing.
She told the court that there was a Halloween party that night and that a lot of people were drinking. In defence lawyer Peter Harte’s cross-examination, Kotchea said Lomen must have been drinking because “if she wasn’t under the influence of alcohol, she wouldn’t have stabbed Danny.” Though, she said that Lomen did not smell of alcohol, nor did she appear to be slurring her speech.
Leanne Nande and Robert Duntra share a duplex with Kotchea in Fort Liard.
They told the court Monday that they were also awoken by the banging on the night of the assault.
Nande told the court it was so loud that she thought it was on her unit. When she opened the door she saw Lomen at Kotchea’s. Nande testified that she heard Lomen tell Kotchea “Danny’s gone” before taking off running towards the street.
She told the court that she then went back inside to tell Duntra what she heard. He went next door to investigate. He walked past Kotchea’s place and heard her on the phone with the RCMP and continued to the crime scene.
He told the court he saw Klondike laying on his right side, “full of blood.”
Duntra testified that he checked Klondike’s pulse. He said Klondike was not breathing.
He said Klondike’s family eventually appeared at the Fort Liard residence, followed by RCMP officers sometime later.
Lomen sat with her face in her hands for much of Monday’s proceedings, occasional sobs were audible.
Justice Andrew Mahar is presiding over the 13-day trial by judge alone. There is no jury.
The trial continues Tuesday.