Nunavut man jailed 13 years for beating his girlfriend to death

The tragic elements of a Nunavut homicide: booze, jealousy and battered woman syndrome


Rankin Inlet in the sun: Dwayne Sateana, 31, beat Edith Angalik, 24, to death in Rankin Inlet in 2014 after finding her sleeping with another man. (FILE PHOTO)

Rankin Inlet in the sun: Dwayne Sateana, 31, beat Edith Angalik, 24, to death in Rankin Inlet in 2014 after finding her sleeping with another man. (FILE PHOTO)

(This story contains details that might upset some readers.)

Edith Angalik died the same way far too many other women in Nunavut have died — brutalized by the man she loved.

The violence that Dwayne Sateana used to kill her is shocking, but many Nunavummiut will recognize a tragic pattern:

• a young mother whose family suspected she suffered from battered woman’s syndrome;

• a plea to police to save her just days before her brutal death;

• a booze-filled, jealousy-crazed boyfriend, enraged and out of control, with a history of violence against women.;

• an alcoholic couple with high hopes for the future and promises to each other to seek treatment, go on a drinking binge; and,

• few addictions treatment options in Nunavut.

Sateana, 31, beat Angalik, 24, to death in Rankin Inlet in 2014 after finding her sleeping with another man.

Angalik likely died from the punches Sateana landed to her vagina, before putting her nearly-naked body outside on the porch in temperatures colder than minus 30 C.

That’s all according to court documents filed with the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Sateana appeared before Nunavut Justice Sue Cooper July 27 in Rankin Inlet to hear the judge’s sentencing decision.

Sateana, arrested shortly after Angalik’s death, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in December 2015.

Cooper accepted a joint sentencing submission from lawyers, submitted in court July 26: Sateana will spend another 10 and a half years in prison.

In total, Cooper sentenced Sateana to 13 years in prison and gave him two-and-a-half years credit for time already served.

Sateana’s lawyer, James Morton, said July 27 that his client, wearing a white shirt and tie, “kept his eyes largely downcast throughout the proceedings and was crying for most of it.”

About 40 people, mostly from the family of the deceased and the killer, packed a courtroom with tight security, Morton said.

On July 26, after victim impact statements were submitted but not read in court, Sateana addressed the court.

“I killed Edith Angalik. I loved Edith and still find it hard to believe I did what I did… I think of her all the time and cry and cry… I know how guilty I am. I feel that every minute of every day… Drinking is not an excuse for what I did… When I drink I am crazy,” Sateana read from a statement.

Sateana told a social worker, whose psychological report Cooper used extensively in her decision, that he should not be given a second chance.

“Taking another person’s life is the worst thing a person can do,” Sateana told the psychologist.

Court documents depict the events on the night of Nov. 21, 2014.

Sateana, Angalik and two other friends began drinking that afternoon at a friend’s house.

The four of them finished off four 40-ounce bottles of whiskey and an untold volume of vodka and beer before Agnalik’s death around 4 a.m.

Sateana blacked out four times during that time span, getting into at least two fights before killing Angalik.

Around 3 a.m. Sateana went out looking for another party, leaving Angalik and a male friend behind.

When Sateana returned about 45 minutes later, he found Angalik and the friend “half naked and getting dressed,” the court record shows.

Sateana’s rage exploded: He wrestled with the man for about 10 minutes.

When that friend passed out, drunk, Sateana turned on Angalik.

“He punched her more than 10 times in the face area and twice in the vaginal area. Edith was not defending herself, crying and begging Dwayne to stop,” an agreed statement of facts said.

Angalik escaped to a nearby laundry room, where Sateana followed and continued to beat her.

“Police… found a large amount of Edith’s blood in the laundry room… smeared on the floor, the walls and all over the washer and dryer…There was also blood on the exterior back porch stoop of the residence where Edith’s body had been placed for a period of time in the frigid temperatures,” the statement of facts said.

Police also found a trail of blood leading from the back porch down the street towards Sateana’s house.

A neighbour called the police around 6:30 a.m. after he found Sateana dragging Angalik’s lifeless, beaten body by the armpits down the street.

When police arrived at Sateana’s house they found Angalik mostly nude, partially covered by a blanket on the couch.

“She was cold to the touch and clearly deceased,” court documents said.

Angalik died of internal bleeding caused by a lacerated liver, the court record shows, likely sustained when Sateana punched her in the vaginal area.

“Due to Dwayne’s level of intoxication at the time of the beating that killed Edith, he did not have the required intent for murder,” prosecuting and defence lawyers agreed.

Among the aggravating factors Cooper listed in coming to her sentencing decision were Sateana’s extensive criminal record, including a number of aggravated assaults.

Another aggravating factor was Sateana’s history of abuse against Angalik and another ex-girlfriend.

Nineteen days before Angalik’s death, her mother sent the Rankin Inlet RCMP a letter asking for police to intervene in her daughter’s abusive relationship.

The statement of facts said, “the police asked Edith to provide statements about possible abuse, but Edith refused to speak with the RCMP.”

There was nothing else the RCMP could do, defence lawyer Morton said.

Part of the tragedy is the lack of sentencing alternatives Nunavut courts have for those with repeated criminal behaviour like Sateana, said Morton.

“The courts are directed to consider alternatives to help people out of addiction problems, but there are next to no resources in Nunavut that can be used for that.”

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