Igloolik man gets life for 2014 murder of teenage girl
Steven Akittirq beat, stabbed and shot his young victim
Steven Akittirq of Igloolik, who pleaded guilty in October 2017 to the second-degree murder of a teenage girl in 2014, will serve out a life sentence in prison, following a hearing held in his home community yesterday afternoon.
Akittirq, 27, will be ineligible for parole for the first 14 years of his mandatory life sentence, Nunavut Justice Susan Cooper said on Tuesday, Jan. 30.
The mandatory sentence for second degree murder is life in prison, with no eligibility to apply for parole for at least 10 years.
Akittirq was present in the Igloolik courtroom and told the court through his lawyers, James Morton and Julie Bedford, that he accepts full responsibility for his actions.
Morton read a letter written by Akittirq apologizing to the victim’s family, in which Akittirq said he “will not be able to forgive himself.”
According to a statement of facts submitted by defence and Crown lawyers, on June 8, 2014, Akittirq and the victim took a snowmobile to his family cabin outside Igloolik after spending the night drinking with friends at a local dance and later at a residence.
Akittirq returned to Igloolik alone in the early morning, about two hours after departing for the cabin and immediately went to bed, witnesses said.
The same witnesses said Akittirq showed signs of uneasiness and distress over the next day, June 9.
Parents of the missing teenager confronted Akittirq about the whereabouts of their daughter, but he insisted he dropped her off at home at the end of the night.
A relative of Akittirq later visited the cabin and found the victim’s partially clothed body, and reported the discovery to the police.
Local RCMP officers arrested Akittirq later that day, and police charged him with first degree murder.
An autopsy concluded that the victim died from a fatal gunshot wound that passed through her forearm and ricocheted into the chest, penetrating the lung and heart. Death was immediate.
The victim’s body showed signs of other injuries, including stab wounds, lacerations and blunt force trauma.
DNA evidence collected from the body and other tissue samples confirmed that the victim and Akittirq had sex together.
Forensic investigators found a firearm with spent ammunition casings next to the victim’s body inside the cabin.
They also found clothing belonging to the victim strewn on the floor, along with a bloody knife.
Members of the victim’s family, including her parents, uncle and cousin, gave victim impact statements to the court during Akittirq’s sentencing hearing.
Crown lawyers Christian Lyons and Philippe Plourde had recommended a 17-year period of parole ineligibility in their closing submissions at the sentencing hearing. Defence lawyers recommended 13 years.
Akittirq was also sentenced on two unrelated convictions for assault and two convictions for mischief causing damage under $5,000, stemming from a riot the Baffin Correctional Centre in November last year.
Akittirq pleaded guilty to all charges.
The separate convictions combine for a total sentence of 21 months, which will be served alongside Akittirq’s life sentence for murder.