Emerald MacDonald’s friend testifies about events leading up to actor’s death

Woman gives emotional testimony during murder trial of Scott Hala, charged with killing MacDonald, trying to kill her friend

A poster calling for justice for Emerald MacDonald was displayed in Kugluktuk six months after her death in May 2021. (File photo)

By Jorge Antunes

Emerald MacDonald’s friend recounted the events leading up to the actor’s death in May 2021 and what happened in the immediate aftermath, during the second day of Scott Hala’s murder trial Wednesday.

MacDonald’s friend, who was the only witness to testify, cannot be identified due to a court-ordered publication ban.

On the witness stand, the friend described a scene where “there was so much blood.” She broke down several times describing what she saw, leading to the court temporarily adjourning so she could compose herself.

The trial is underway this week at the Kugluktuk community hall. Hala is charged with first-degree murder in the death of MacDonald, an actor who performed in the movie The Grizzlies.

He also faces charges of attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault of MacDonald’s friend.

Hala has pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

MacDonald was found May 3, 2021, in a cabin about five kilometres from Kugluktuk. A forensic pathologist determined her death was caused by a bullet wound to the head, court heard earlier.

Her friend was also found inside the cabin, alive but badly injured.

Much of MacDonald’s friend’s testimony Wednesday overlapped with the agreed statement of facts outlined by Crown lawyer Emma Baasch on Tuesday, including when Hala showed up uninvited at the cabin where MacDonald and her friend were staying.

Defence lawyer Rob Warren questioned the witness’s memory of the events and details of statements she provided after MacDonald’s death.

Warren suggested the witness did not have a good memory of what happened while Hala was there and that she had been filling in the blanks in her memory.

“You are still not completely confident that you have an accurate recollection” of the events, Warren said at one point during his cross-examination of the woman.

The witness admitted to not being able to recall all the events of that early morning.

Would you agree that your memory is not “reliable?” Warren asked.

The witness said she remembered “bits and pieces.”

The trial began Tuesday and continues on Thursday.

Four days were set aside to hear evidence. The Nunavut Court of Justice has provided an audio feed of the trial to Nunatsiaq News.



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