Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut May 01, 2014 - 7:10 am

Nunavut court: girlfriend didn’t know dying man had been stabbed

Woman used Blackberry to snap photo of stabbing victim on porch

Colin Makpah, 29, leaves the Nunavut Court of Justice April 29 after day one of his manslaughter trial, which is expected to take about three weeks. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)
Colin Makpah, 29, leaves the Nunavut Court of Justice April 29 after day one of his manslaughter trial, which is expected to take about three weeks. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)

D.J. Gamble expressed suicidal thoughts prior to his stabbing death almost four years ago, his common law spouse, Sheryl-Lynn Outchikat, 23, said at the Nunavut Court of Justice April 30 during the trial of Colin Makpah.

Outchikat also said she didn’t know that Gamble had been stabbed when she used a Blackberry to take a photo of him while he sat dying on the front steps of a friend’s porch.

Makpah, 29, faces a charge of manslaughter in Gamble’s Aug. 14, 2010 stabbing death. Justice Neil Sharkey presides over the judge-alone trial in Iqaluit.

On day one of the trial, Gamble’s friend, Abraham Nakoolak, told the court about a big brawl at his house the night Gamble died.

Outchikat, 23, under questioning from Crown prosecutor Faiyaz Amir Alibhai, told a similar story — a fight broke out at Nakoolak’s house after Gamble came back from the store to get baby supplies.

Gamble blamed Outchikat for the RCMP towing his all-terrain vehicle away after someone called the RCMP to complain about Gamble’s drinking and driving.

Outchikat had demanded that Gamble, while drunk on Smirnoff vodka, get milk for the baby.

“He said it was my fault,” Outchikat said.

Outchikat said in court she told Gamble it wasn’t her fault that Gamble drove too fast on his all-terrain vehicle. 

That, Outchikat said, is when Gamble became angry and told her to hit him.

When she refused, she said Gamble slapped her in the face with a rolled-up ATV magazine, leaving a cut on her lip.

Then she said she slapped Gamble in the face.

Gamble’s friend Nakoolak stepped in, Outchikat said, and defended her.

Gamble turned his anger towards his friend and asked Nakoolak about money or drugs he owed him.

Gamble started shouting at Nakoolak and pushing him— Makpah then intervened and tried to calm things down, Outchikat said.

“I think it just got D.J. more angry,” Outchikat said, adding that she didn’t remember exactly.

Outchikat said a fight broke out and all three men struggled on the floor.

She said she then grabbed an empty 40-ounce vodka bottle and smashed it over the heads of Gamble and Makpah.

“I just wanted the fight to end, and it was just, like, a reaction that happened,” Outchikat said.

Alibhai asked Outchikat if she had been that scared if Gamble would hurt or kill anyone that night.

Outchikat said she was scared he would hurt the other two men, saying Gamble was a “pretty big guy,” and much larger than the other two he wrestled with.

On day one of the trial, the court heard that Gamble weighed well over 200 pounds.

Outchikat said she grabbed her baby and ran upstairs during the fight and after that things got quiet downstairs.

Outchikat said she later continued the verbal spat with Gamble after the fight.

She told him he “always does this” and that he would never see his daughter again.

Gamble responding by asking her if he should commit suicide, she told court. 

But Outchikat replied, saying he would never do such a thing. 

Outchikat said in court she found a knife after the fight, but that it had “nothing on it.”

She also confirmed she snapped a photo of Gamble with her BlackBerry while he was slumped over on the porch of Nakoolak’s housing unit.

She said she did that because she wanted to show him how drunk he had been when he woke up the following morning. 

Alibhai introduced the Blackberry as evidence. Outchikat examined the photo on it, and Amir Ailbhai asked if she could see blood on Gamble.

“Yeah,” Outchikat replied. But Outchikat said she just sent the photo to a friend and didn’t really look at it that night.

She said it wasn’t until RCMP visited Outchikat later that night that she learned Gamble had been stabbed three times — with one stab wound being “serious.”

Defence lawyer Shayne Kert began cross-examining the witness the morning of April 30.

But Sharkey cut her off and immediately stopped proceedings just before noon. 

Sharkey said he received a note from the court clerk about a problem that required immediate attention, and adjourned the trial until the morning of May 1. 

There have been other unusual adjournments in this case.

In March 2012 Justice Robert Kilpatrick, who heard he preliminary inquiry, halted proceedings because of inadequate courtroom security. 

All witnesses in the trial are required to go through a metal detector before entering the courtroom.

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