Nunavut court: Accused aimed rifle at victim the day before killing him
“Why were you walking around Cape Dorset during the dark part of the night carrying three guns?”
Peter Kingwatsiak aimed a .303-calibre rifle, which was likely loaded, at his step-brother, Mappaluk Adla, about a day before Kingwatsiak killed Adla at close range with a .22-calibre rifle in Cape Dorset in 2010.
That’s what Justice Bonnie Tulloch heard June 25 at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit as Kingwatsiak testified for the second straight day at his first-degree murder trial.
At the time of the homicide, Kingwatsiak suspected Adla of being involved with a mutual love interest, Geena Rose Lampron, Kingwatsiak said during his six-hour testimony.
On the night of Sept. 18, 2010, Lampron saw Kingwatsiak aim the .303-calibre rifle at Adla, the court heard.
Kingwatsiak said he went to his grandfather’s boat shortly before that to get the rifle, which sat already loaded in the boat.
When Lampron tried to dissuade Kingwatsiak from shooting Adla, Kingwatsiak said he told her to go home because he was going to kill Adla.
“Is that how you remember saying it, ‘I’m going to kill Mappaluk, you go home’?” Barry McLaren, crown prosecutor, asked Kingwatsiak on the stand.
“Yes,” Kingwatsiak answered.
“Is that because you didn’t want her to see you kill Mappaluk?” McLaren said.
“Yes,” Kingwatsiak said.
“In fact, Geena Rose ran up to you and said, ‘don’t kill him, kill me instead,’ didn’t she?”
Lampron persuaded Kingwatsiak not to shoot Adla that night, the accused said, and then demanded Kingwatsiak give her all the bullets he had in his pocket.
“Tell the judge how you felt when you stood there pointing the gun at Mappaluk,” McLaren asked.
“I was feeling that I was not going to shoot him,” Kingwatsiak said.
“Were you angry at Mappaluk?” the lawyer asked
“No,” the accused answered.
“Were you hurt and sad because Geena Rose had broken up with you?”
“I wasn’t hurt but I was down.”
“I’m going to suggest that you were so sad you felt like your heart was broken.”
“I can’t say really if my heart was broken.”
But when police arrested Kingwatsiak on Sept. 20, 2010 — shortly after Adla had been killed — they found a pen-drawn tattoo on Kingwatsiak’s right arm that said, “Geena Rose, the one and only,” the court heard.
“Geena Rose was the girl who you thought was your one true love, wasn’t she?” McLaren asked Kingwatsiak.
“Yes,” Kingwatsiak answered, but added he had drawn the tattoo on his arm three or four weeks before shooting his step-brother.
And on the night of Sept. 19, 2010, Kingwatsiak said he was carrying two rifles and a shotgun while walking on a ridge that runs behind both his mother’s and Adla’s houses.
“Why were you walking around Cape Dorset during the dark part of the night carrying three guns?” McLaren asked.
“I can’t tell you why,” Kingwatsiak replied.
Kingwatsiak said that he dropped one of those three guns on the ridge that night because he couldn’t carry all three.
From evidence given in court, it’s not clear when Kingwatsiak carried the guns while walking on the ridge “nearby” Adla’s home, but because it was in September, it must have been later since it was already dark.
That would mean Kingwatsiak was carrying three guns on the ridge around seven or fewer hours before killing Adla.
Kingwatsiak interrupted his own testimony constantly throughout the day on June 25, complaining about the court interpreters.
On June 24, Tulloch closed court to the public for about 20 minutes so that she and the lawyers could talk about the dialect difference between the accused and the interpreters.
When court resumed, one of the two interpreters had been replaced.
But on June 25, Kingwatsiak asked McLaren to rephrase or repeat questions dozens of times because Kingwatsiak said he didn’t understand the questions.
McLaren became increasingly frustrated as he continued cross-examining Kingwatsiak on June 25, covering his face in exasperation at one point and adding sarcasm to some of his questions.
“I know the interpreters have worked very hard today. I want to thank them for their work,” Tulloch said before adjourning court around 5 p.m. June 25.
The judge-alone trial was scheduled to wrap up June 26, but Crown prosecutors are not done cross-examining the accused and the defence is expected to call one more expert witness, the court heard.
“I don’t have any illusions… that we’re going to get to closing arguments tomorrow,” Tulloch said.
“But if we could at least finish the evidence [June 26], then that would be very helpful.”
Tulloch said that after June 26 she wouldn’t be available to preside over an Iqaluit courtroom again until the end of August — meaning closing arguments would likely have to wait until then.
The fifth day of the trial is scheduled to begin June 26.