'It was the largest amount of blood I've ever seen.'
Mark Jeffrey admits killing 13-year-old
Child killer Mark King Jeffrey likely shaved years off his impending prison term when he finally admitted this Monday to the brutal stabbing death of Jennifer Naglingniq, 13, in Iqaluit more than four years ago.
Jeffrey, 26, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for his part in killing the girl, who was a Grade 8 student at Inuksuk High, in exchange for a first-degree murder charge being dropped.
A conviction on the lesser charge means Jeffrey will still receive a sentence of life imprisonment, but he may be eligible for parole as early as 10 years into his sentence, rather than having to wait at least 25 years.
Police found Naglingniq dead in her bedroom shortly after midnight, Dec. 6, 2002. Her neck and wrists were slashed. She was also badly cut on the shoulders, hands and chest. One stab wound pierced her aorta, the main artery for the heart. Blood was everywhere.
"It was the largest amount of blood I've ever seen," Const. Mark Tindall told the court in a preliminary inquiry held in December 2003.
Evidence submitted in court in September 2006, until now subject to a publication ban, tells of how Jeffrey tried to persuade police that the real killer was the victim's grieving mother.
Jeffrey, a friend of Naglingniq's uncle, arrived at his home the night of the murder with blood on his lip and a red eye. He told his mother he had gotten into a fight with a man named Noah from Cape Dorset.
She noticed the family dog, Tia, licking blood off her son's sneakers. Jeffrey later threw the shoes out, along with other clothes he wore that evening.
Later, Jeffrey's mother would tell police that her son admitted he was present during Naglingniq's murder. But Jeffrey insisted on alleging that Naglingniq's mother, Nicotye, was the killer, and that he only helped to hold the girl.
Jeffrey, when he later spoke with police, would stick with the story that the killer was Nicotye, who was working on the evening of the murder as a driver and receptionist for the medical boarding home.
Shortly afterwards, Jeffrey even volunteered to serve as an undercover agent for the police, and attempted to capture a confession from Nicotye while wearing a hidden tape recorder.
But several attempts to meet with Nicotye failed. And when he finally did talk to her, police later found the tape recorder had been shut off during their discussion.
Four months after Naglingniq's death, police arrested Jeffrey on March 24, 2003 and charged him with first-degree murder. He was placed in a cell with an undercover police officer, who posed as a prisoner.
Jeffrey told the officer he couldn't handle a life sentence in prison, but he feared that he would never get out because police matched his DNA with blood found at the crime scene.
The next morning, Jeffrey asked the officer if he had ever been in a room full of blood.
"Animal blood?" the officer asked.
"No, human blood," Jeffrey said. "It's different. I smelled it. I even tasted it. It's good. I can't describe it. It smells sweet."
From then on, Jeffrey's story of what happened Dec. 6 kept growing stranger.
On March 24, during a four-hour interrogation by police, Jeffrey claimed that Naglingniq made a pass at him on the evening she died, and that the two kissed before he started cooking cocaine in the apartment.
He told police the 13-year-old girl wanted him to break up with his girlfriend. Jeffrey said Naglingniq threatened to phone his girlfriend to to tell the girlfriend that he was at her house.
Jeffrey hesitated when police asked him what happened next. But by the end of the interrogation, Jeffrey alleged that Nicotye paid him to kill Naglingniq.
But police didn't buy this, or any Jeffrey's other stories claiming Nicotye's involvement in her own daughter's murder.
In April of 2003, Jeffrey was transferred from the Baffin Correctional Centre to the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre for his own protection. But he was transferred back to the BCC in September so he could attend the funeral of his mother, who was crushed by a city front-end loader.
In September 3, 2003, Jeffrey told a BCC guard another version of events, that began with Jeffrey, Naglingniq and her mother smoking cocaine together on the evening of the murder.
A fight ensued, Jeffrey told the guard, and the mother stabbed her daughter. Jeffrey was scratched in the eye while trying to pull Jennifer away. Nicotye later drove him home, Jeffrey said, but before he left, he grabbed and hid stockings soaked with Naglingniq's blood.
In contrast to all this, Jeffrey didn't say much when he stood in court this Monday. Dressed in a navy blue hoodie and black cargo pants, he quietly agreed to the guilty plea before being escorted back to prison.
Jeffrey's parole eligibility is to be set by Justice Earl Johnson on Monday, April 30, although his release date will ultimately be decided by the parole board. An agreed statement of facts will also be entered into evidence April 30.