July 21st, 2018

Victim diedof multiple stab wounds

By Shurtz, Delon on May 17, 2018.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald


Frances Candice Little Light died of “multiple stab wounds,” but it’s possible she was wounded during a fight, a medical examiner testified Wednesday.

Dr. Tera Jones, forensic pathologist with the Alberta medical examiner’s office, told court during Jillian Wendy Across The Mountain’s manslaughter trial that the victim had four stab wounds on her body, including two on her back, but it was a deep cut on her upper arm that likely caused her death.

Defence lawyer Michael Dietrich suggested the wounds could have been caused by two people grappling over a knife, to which Jones responded, “possibly.”

Jones had earlier testified the stab wounds were not self-inflicted, and she ruled out any other causes of her death, including alcohol consumption. Court was told Little Light had more than three times the amount of alcohol in her system than is permitted to drive a vehicle.

The cut to her upper left arm was 12.1 centimetres deep, the jury was told, and sliced the brachial artery, which caused extensive blood loss and led to Little Light’s death.

Little Light’s body was found in her westside apartment Feb. 7, 2016, several hours after police had responded to a disturbance at the apartment building and spoke to Little Light and Across The Mountain. Little Light was highly intoxicated and aggressive at the time, police officers testified.

Dietrich suggested officers who responded to the initial early morning disturbance should have arrested Little Light, and he accused one of the officers of not doing his job properly.

“On that night you dropped the ball,” Dietrich told Const. Keon Woronuk of the Lethbridge Police service.

Dietrich suggested Woronuk had reason to arrest Little Light because she was aggressive and threatening to the officers when they arrived at her apartment, but Woronuk disagreed and said he never felt threatened by the highly intoxicated woman.

“Someone can be aggressive without being threatening,” Woronuk countered. “She was barely capable of walking.”

Dietrich implied had the officers arrested Little Light for yelling and kicking doors in her apartment building – considered mischief under the Criminal Code – she would not have been killed that night.

However, Woronuk said Little Light’s aggressive and drunken behaviour in her home wasn’t enough reason to arrest her, especially since she was no longer causing a disturbance. Woronuk wasn’t worried about anyone else’s safety, either.

“She was so intoxicated she did not have the capacity to harm anyone.”

About 10 hours later police were called back to the apartment where they found Little Light dead and lying in a pool of her own blood.

The trial continues today in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, where the Crown is expected to call several more witnesses to the stand.

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