Melfort Court of Queens Bench. Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Laskowski.
Day 1 of the Melfort trial into the killing of Alpheus Burns by Candace Moostoos wrapped up earlier than planned on Monday afternoon, due to an objection by the prosecution during cross-examination of the first witness.
Moostoos, now in her late 30s, was charged with second-degree murder after Burns was found dead in May of 2015. The RCMP said at the time that Moostoos turned herself in within a day of Burns’ death.
Early on in the trial by jury, an agreed statement of facts was entered into the court record, meaning there’s no dispute that Moostoos inflicted the injuries that killed 70-year-old Burns.
In opening statements, Crown prosecutor Tyla Olenchuk told jurors they'll hear evidence that Moostoos stabbed Burns five times and watched him die as he sat at his kitchen table. Then, Olenchuk said, Moostoos took Burns’ car and threw the knife she killed him with from the car window.
She named approximately 10 witnesses that will be called throughout the two-week trial, saying the jury will hear that Moostoos initially went to Burn’s home for money.
Olenchuk told the jury Moostoos gave a statement to police after her family convinced her to turn herself in. That statement detailed Moostoos drinking 2 Litre coolers at Burns’ place, and Burns asking Moostoos to give him oral sex as payment for the liquor, Olenchuk said. She added that Moostoos refused and the stabbing occurred after that.
All of this has yet to be proven, and defence lawyer Mary McAuley has not yet laid out her case.
The incident that led to an early end to the day came during testimony from the first witness, Burns' adopted sister Etheleen Paul. Paul is also related to Moostoos, whose mom is Paul’s cousin.
On cross-examination, McAuley asked Paul if Burns had caused a lot of issues for her in younger years, to which Paul said "yes." Soon after, Olenchuk objected.
The jury was led from the court before arguments were made on the admissibility of McAuley's line of questioning and its relevance to the trial.
The trial judge’s ruling on this will come when court resumes Tuesday morning.