Murder trial describes victim as aggressive in moments before he was attacked

Daniel Hodgson is accused of second-degree murder in the 2017 death of Bradley Winsor

The second-degree murder trial of Daniel Hodgson continued in Iqaluit on Friday with testimony from a forensics expert. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

The second-degree murder trial of Daniel Hodgson continued in Iqaluit on Wednesday with testimony from two witnesses who said that Bradley Winsor became aggressive in the moments leading up his death.

Winsor, 23, was found unresponsive by police at an Apex home in the early hours of May 19, 2017.

Hodgson, 41, was later arrested and charged with his murder. The trial got underway at the Iqaluit courthouse on Monday.

On Wednesday, the court heard from two women who were out drinking in Iqaluit’s bars on May 18, 2017, to celebrate a birthday with a larger group of friends.

Later that evening, Crystal Mullin hosted people back at her home in Apex.

Among the attendees were Hodgson, and later Winsor, who arrived “unannounced,” she told the court Wednesday morning.

Mullin said the handful of people there were drinking, socializing and having fun. She told the court she opted to go to bed at some point, realizing she had to work in the morning, though her guests remained.

But Mullin said that shortly after she went to bed, Winsor came into her room, harassing her and “bringing up things that had happened” to them in the past.

“I asked him not to bring it up. He kept repeating it,” she testified. “I very vividly remember asking him to leave the room.”

A second witness who was at Mullin’s house, Mantra Ford-Perkins, told the court that she saw Winsor’s mood “flip.”

“All of sudden, I noticed Brad being aggressive with Crystal,” she testified on Wednesday. “He was walking towards her into her bedroom, and she had her hand out saying: you need to go … I need to work tomorrow … you need to leave.”

When Winsor wouldn’t leave, Ford-Perkins went to ask Hodgson for help. She described Winsor’s stature as heavy and stocky.

Hodgson and Winsor then got into an argument over a set of car keys, which quickly became physical.

“That’s when Dan put him into a headlock,” Ford-Perkins told the court, describing how Hodgson put his arm tightly around Winsor’s neck.

“We all started yelling: let him go, let him go, that’s enough.”

Hodgson hadn’t been holding Winsor long, but when he released him, Winsor fell to the floor, unresponsive; his face had gone blue.

Someone in the house called an ambulance.

Hodgson then asked Ford-Perkins to “get him out of there,” so the pair left to drive back to Iqaluit. But as they passed the ambulance, they turned back around and went to watch Mullin’s house from a distance.

When Ford-Perkins finally went back to check in at Mullin’s house, a police officer answered the door and told her no one was there.

Hodgson, 41, has been out on bail since 2017.

The judge-only trial is presided over by Nunavut Justice Susan Charlesworth.

The trial continues Thursday from Iqaluit’s courthouse, where it’s being livestreamed to the public.

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