Crown alleges video shows Hikoalok at scene of librarian’s death
First-degree murder trial of Cambridge Bay man continues in Ottawa
The jury in the murder trial of Tyler Hikoalok viewed video footage Tuesday that the Crown alleges shows the accused at the scene of the crime.
Hikoalok, 22, originally from Cambridge Bay, is facing a first-degree murder charge in Ottawa for the death of Elisabeth Salm, 59, a volunteer librarian at the Christian Science Reading Room at 141 Laurier Ave. West.
Hikoalok has pleaded not guilty at the trial, which is being held in Ottawa.
Court has heard that just before 1 p.m. on May 24, 2018, Salm was found badly beaten and unresponsive inside the reading room by her colleague Janet Dudley.
Ottawa Police Service forensic media examiner Clint Eastop told court Tuesday he was tasked with collecting video footage from neighbouring businesses and buildings as part of the investigation.
Using camera footage from the Canadian Forces recruitment building at 161 Laurier Ave. West and from inside a building at 440 Albert St., about 1.2 km west of the reading room, Eastop produced a six-and-a-half minute video showing the timeline of when Salm arrived at work to when first responders carried a stretcher toward the building.
Timestamps highlighted in the video show:
8:58 a.m. — A woman, identified earlier in the trial as Salm by her husband Lyle Young, is seen locking her bicycle to a sign pole on Laurier Avenue a few metres from the entrance of the reading room. She then walks west and turns right toward the entrance to the reading room.
9:14 a.m. — A man wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt, a dark wide-brimmed baseball cap, grey pants, dark running shoes and a dark backpack walks west on Laurier Avenue. The hood of the man’s sweatshirt is pulled up over the baseball cap. He pauses in front of a sign marking the entrance of the reading room, turns toward the Gillan Building which houses the reading room, and disappears from the camera’s view.
10:21 a.m. — What appears to be the same person walks out of the garage door exit of the Gillan Building and steps onto Laurier Avenue. The word “TR1BE” spelled in white capital letters is visible on the front of his dark sweatshirt and a sticker is visible on the brim of his cap. The camera angle then shows him walking east on Laurier, turning left onto Elgin Street and disappearing from view. A zoomed-in shot shows the word “Canada” written across the front of the backpack and a red patch on the lower right side of the bag.
10:52 a.m. — The video jumps to a view of the inside entrance of 440 Albert St., the building that houses the Ottawa Carleton District School Board’s Continuing Education school. A young man can be seen walking through the front doors of the building wearing dark running shoes, baggy grey shorts, a dark T-shirt and a dark backpack. His face is visible and in his right hand he is carrying a dark baseball cap.
12:54 p.m. — More video footage of Laurier Avenue shows Dudley arriving for her afternoon shift.
1:02 p.m. — First responders begin arriving on the scene. Dudley’s testimony from earlier in the trial noted she called 911 shortly after entering the reading room and found Salm unresponsive on the floor.
Ottawa Police Service Sgt. Chris O’Brien, who reviewed the footage collected by Eastop, testified that the man wearing dark clothing shown in the timeline video immediately caught his attention.
“He looked odd. He was wearing a hoodie on a hot day.” O’Brien said. “He was trudging along, looking over his shoulder.”
O’Brien said he took screenshots of the person from the video footage and passed them around to homeless shelters in the city to see if anyone could identify the person.
He also looked for information online, eventually finding the website for an Indigenous hip-hop music collective known as TR1BE.
Hikoalok was a rapper in this group and performed under the stage name “Ty Millz,” he said.
The jury was shown images taken from the group’s website, which showed members including Hikoalok posing in front of a car.
Hikoalok was arrested May 27, three days after Salm’s death, at the corner of Rideau and Nelson streets in downtown Ottawa.
O’Brien seized the backpack Hikoalok had with him at the time of his arrest, along with some items of clothing and later the leather bracelet he was wearing. The items were given as evidence to the identification officer, Det. Tim Nolan.
Earlier Tuesday, the jury also heard testimony from Tracie Parr, a registered nurse who conducted a sexual assault examination kit procedure on Salm at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
Witnesses are expected to discuss DNA results of that examination early next week.
Last week in the first week of the trial, the jury also heard testimony from first responders and a trauma surgeon at the Ottawa Civic Hospital who testified about what the remembered from that day.
On Monday, a forensic examiner gave detailed testimony into the 54 injuries sustained by Salm.
The trial continues Wednesday.