There was a ‘tremendous amount of blood,’ surgeon testifies in murder trial

Brandon Lyta is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Levi Michael

The second-degree murder trial for Brandon Lyta will reconvene Wednesday at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

The trial of man charged with second-degree murder continued in Iqaluit Monday with testimony from RCMP investigators and a surgeon.

Brandon Lyta allegedly stabbed Levi Michael, who was 29, on May 15, 2020, in Iqaluit. Lyta was 23 at the time of the incident.

The judge-only trial entered its fifth day with testimony from the RCMP officers who investigated Michael’s death. Those officers told the court they searched the area where Michael was allegedly killed.

At the time, police said they were called to the 4100 block for a man in distress. Michael was transported to the Qikiqtani General Hospital, where he later died.

Justice Neil Sharkey is presiding over the trial.

The court heard last week that Michael had swung an ice chisel at Lyta on the night of the incident and Lyta simultaneously wielded a knife and stabbed Michael.

Officers who attended the scene where Michael was allegedly killed told the court Monday that they did not find blood, a knife or an ice chisel.

The trial also heard from Dr. Mike Saba, a surgeon at the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit.

Saba, who attended to Michael after he was brought to the hospital via a taxi, said there was a “tremendous amount of blood” in Michael’s chest.

“There was an obvious injury to the left lung … all the vessels coming to the lungs were severed,” he said.

Saba said the lungs are “like a sponge,” meaning they can be punctured fairly easily.

The court heard Michael died at 2:31 a.m. on May 15 at the hospital.

The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday morning with testimony from a forensic pathologist.

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