Witnesses questioned at Iqaluit murder trial

Daniel Hodgson, 41, faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of 23-year-old Bradley Winsor

Daniel Hodsgon’s second-degree murder trial continues Tuesday morning at Iqaluit’s courthouse, where it’s being livestreamed to the public. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Two witnesses took the stand Monday at Daniel Hodgson’s murder trial, with the defence raising discrepancies between what they told the court and what they had earlier told police.

Hodgson is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Bradley Winsor, who police found unresponsive at a home in Apex on May 19, 2017. Winsor was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Margaret Sikkinerk said she was in a room with Samantha Mullin, whose sister was having a party at her home in Apex, before they both headed into the living room and saw Hodgson choking Winsor.

Hodgson wasn’t responding to pleas for him to stop, Sikkinerk said.

“I was yelling in anger,” she told the court Monday morning, adding that she tried pulling Hodgson off Winsor for three to four minutes before he “gently laid him down.”

Sikkinerk said she and Shawn Burke, another person who attended the party, gave Winsor CPR and resuscitated him at least once.

Hodgson’s defence lawyer, Sarah Siebert, questioned Sikkinerk about the statement she gave the RCMP the day of the incident, in which she said Winsor was lying on his stomach and Hodgson was on top of him.

Sikkinerk said she was intoxicated when she gave that statement and rescinded it, maintaining that when she first encountered Hodgson choking Winsor, they were both standing.

Siebert asked Sikkinerk if she would agree that the event happened quickly.

“You couldn’t believe that everything you saw from the time you left your bedroom until Brad was on the floor, that he would be unresponsive, right?” Siebert asked. “It just didn’t make sense to you based on everything you saw that Bradley would be unresponsive, I have that right?”

Mullin, who left the room at the same time as Sikkinerk, said she saw Winsor on his back with Hodgson on top of him, choking him with his hands.

“[Winsor] was squirming,” she said Monday afternoon.

Mullin said she got behind Hodgson and put him in a chokehold, eventually pulling harder when he didn’t stop.

Winsor was having trouble breathing after Hodgson got off of him, Mullin said, and was coughing and snorting.

In the defence’s cross examination, lawyer Ilan Neuman questioned Mullin on the testimony that she gave RCMP the day of the incident.

Mullin said that morning she saw Hodgson punching Winsor in the head while on top of him, and she had heard Winsor was consuming cocaine throughout the night.

“From the time you see [Hodgson] from the bedroom door, to the time you get him off, is pretty fast,” said Neuman. “And it’s fast enough that afterwards, you say, ‘Everyone, he’s going to be fine.’”

Mullin agreed, and added: “Well, I wanted to believe that he was going to be OK.”

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

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

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

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