Hockey stick murder trial to begin November 6
The trial of Thomassie Koneak, 25, one of three Kuujjuaq men accused in the death of a Kativik Regional Government employee, is to start on Nov. 6 in Puvirnituq.
Koneak, Bobby “Teelu” Snowball Jr., 23, and Joey Partridge, 20, were charged with first-degree murder, forcible confinement, aggravated sexual assault causing injury and theft after police found the body of Claude Bourget, a senior accounting clerk at the KRG, in his Kuujjuaq home on Feb. 2, 2005.
Bourget, 50, died from injuries received during a beating, which included an assault with a hockey stick that was thrust into his rectum.
At Koneak’s preliminary hearing last year, a Superior Court of Quebec judge determined there was enough evidence to proceed to trial. The judge ordered him to stand trial on charges of first-degree murder, forcible confinement and aggravated sexual assault causing injury. Koneak also faces a charge of theft under $5,000.
Snowball and Partridge waived their right to a preliminary inquiry into the similar charges facing them and asked to proceed directly to trial.
At one point, sources close to the court said Snowball and Partridge would plead guilty to second-degree murder under a plea bargain. Under its terms, the two would have received mandatory life sentences. Snowball would not have been eligible to be considered for parole for 15 years, while Partridge would not been eligible to be considered for parole for 12 years.
But the two accused decided to reject the plea bargain and opted for jury trials. Their lawyers are expected to watch the results of Koneak’s trial very carefully.
To accommodate a long jury trial – or three – in Kuujjuaq, a second courtroom would have to have been set up, court workers say.
In Puvirnituq, Koneak can be tried by a jury of peers, but they are less likely to have family relationships to the accused, and will not have to live in the same community as his relatives following the result of the trial.