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Nunavut court: Suspect was distraught, suicidal after killing, friend says

“I didn’t really believe him at first”

By THOMAS ROHNER

Peter Kingwatsiak of Cape Dorset leaves court June 22. His trial continues this week at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)


Peter Kingwatsiak of Cape Dorset leaves court June 22. His trial continues this week at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)

Immediately after shooting and killing his step-brother in Cape Dorset in 2010, Peter Kingwatsiak went to his friend’s house, visibly upset, and told his friend that he had killed his step-brother “by accident.”

Tytoosie Tunnillie, Kingwatsiak’s friend, testified before Justice Bonnie Tulloch as a witness for the Crown at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit June 24, on the third day of Kingwatsiak’s first-degree murder trial.

Around 7 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2010, Tunnillie said he woke to find Kingwatsiak in his living room.

“Peter said right away that he shot [Mappaluk Adla] in the forehead,” Tunnillie said in court.

Kingwatsiak pointed his finger to the middle of his forehead when he told his friend this, Tunnillie said.

Kingwatsiak is currently on trial for the first-degree murder of Adla and for breaking and entering into his uncle’s house earlier the same night with the intent to commit an indictable offence.

On June 22, the court heard that Kingwatsiak has already admitted to shooting and killing his step-brother, and to cutting his uncle’s face in a separate incident on the same night.

Although Kingwatsiak has not entered a guilty plea on the outstanding aggravated assault charge he faces for cutting his uncle’s face, that’s likely just a technicality.

That’s because the Crown hopes to first prove Kingwatsiak forced himself into his uncle’s home before cutting his uncle’s face — a charge Kingwatsiak’s defence lawyer denies.

In Tunnillie’s living room in the early morning of Sept. 20, 2010, Kingwatsiak showed Tunnillie his body position when he shot Adla, Tunnillie said.

Using a decommissioned .22-calibre rifle, Crown prosecutor Barry McLaren asked Tunnillie to show the court what Kingwatsiak showed him on the morning of Sept. 20, 2010.

Standing up inside the witness box, Tunnillie pointed the barrel of the gun at the floor, the stock just above his right shoulder.

From Tunnillie’s demonstration, it appears Adla may have been lying down when Kingwatsiak shot him.

“I didn’t really believe him at first,” Tunnillie said.

But after getting a call from his sister a short while later confirming Adla’s death, Tunnillie said he couldn’t face his friend anymore that morning.

“I didn’t want to see his face anymore, so I was going in and out of the house.”

By that time Tunnillie’s father had showed up to try to calm Kingwatsiak, who Tunnillie said was crying and threatening to commit suicide.

Kingwatsiak’s face was “twitching a lot,” Tunnillie testified, and he smelled of gasoline.

Kingwatsiak told his friend that he “accidentally shot” Adla, Tunnillie testified, although Kingwatsiak also told his friend that he hated Adla.

Before killing Adla, Kingwatsiak has already admitted to cutting his uncle’s face in his uncle’s home, a few houses away from Adla’s house.

Kingwatsiak was “sniffed out on gas” when he slashed his uncle across the face, Tunnillie said Kingwatsiak told him, and Kingwatsiak “suddenly woke up” from the effects of sniffing gasoline fumes in the middle of cutting his uncle’s face.

During cross-examination by defence lawyer James Morton, Tunnillie said Kingwatsiak had previously blacked out from sniffing gasoline fumes “a few times.”

Kingwatsiak began testifying in the morning of June 24. His testimony will resume after the lunch break and is expected to last the rest of the day.

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