Ottawa man who threw friend off balcony guilty of 2nd-degree murder

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Martin Frampton, 30, was found guilty at the Ottawa courthouse on Wednesday of second-degree murder in the killing of his friend Kenneth Ammaklak. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC - image credit)
Martin Frampton, 30, was found guilty at the Ottawa courthouse on Wednesday of second-degree murder in the killing of his friend Kenneth Ammaklak. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC - image credit)

An Ottawa man who hit his friend in the head with a hammer before throwing him to his death off a 21st-floor balcony has been found guilty of second-degree murder.

Martin Frampton, 30, was convicted by a jury Wednesday after two days of deliberations.

He had pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the May 2019 death of 31-year-old Kenneth Ammaklak.

Prosecutors argued that Frampton believed his one-time friend to be a child molester and "crooked" person on the night he threw Ammaklak's beaten body from the balcony of his Donald Street apartment.

On May 13, 2019, Frampton was drinking inside Ammaklak's apartment at 251 Donald St. with Ammaklak and Ammaklak's girlfriend.

The couple began to argue, court heard, and the girlfriend left, leaving the two men alone.

Frampton went after her, court heard, but returned to the apartment. At first, Frampton denied to police that he returned to the apartment at all. Then he said he left Ammaklak alive but returned to find a "pool of blood," bloodied pillows and a bloody handprint on the balcony door.

In his final statement to police on May 24, Frampton admitted striking Ammaklak over the head repeatedly with a hammer, while wearing a blue plastic poncho to protect himself from the bloodshed.

In that interview, said Crown prosecutor Stephen Lichti, Frampton — whom court would hear had been sexually abused as a child — called his one-time friend "a crooked piece of shit" who "deserves to die."

He brought Ammaklak to the balcony, put the injured man's arms over the railing, then flipped his legs over, Lichti said.

Frampton would tell police he felt like a "normal person" once it was all over, the prosecutor said.

Defence argued he was provoked

Frampton was born in the small town of Clyde River on Baffin Island in Nunavut. At just 14 days old, he was adopted by a couple and raised in Newfoundland, court heard.

His adoptive mother testified that she noticed her son struggling as a toddler, and that doctors would diagnose him with developmental delays. His mother would find that he was always attempting to fit in — often giving answers that he thought were expected of him, or what the people asking him questions wanted to hear.

The Framptons placed him in care when he was 12, when they felt they couldn't cope with him any longer. While living at a treatment centre in Alberta, he was sexually abused, court heard.

He was living on the streets by the time he was 16, and did so for more than a decade until he returned home to Clyde River. Court heard that Frampton was living for a time with a girlfriend in Ottawa, with whom he had a child, but when that relationship ended he found himself back on the streets.

In December 2018, Frampton became friends with Ammaklak.

Defence lawyers James and Robert Harbic argued that Ammaklak acted like a protector, giving Frampton a place to stay, food to eat and alcohol to drink.

Rage and panic

But Ammaklak's girlfriend told Frampton that Ammaklak was a child molester, court heard. That revelation, Frampton later told police, sent him into "rage" and "panic" at the betrayal.

Frampton was arrested and charged 10 days after the murder.

His lawyers argued that Frampton was in the heat of passion and lost control in the throes of a fight where both he and Ammaklak tried to wield a hammer against the other.

Frampton will receive an automatic life sentence in prison, but it remains up to Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips to determine how long he must wait before applying for parole. That period of parole ineligibility can be anywhere from 10 to 25 years.

"You did a good job, and you did your duty," Phillips told jurors before dismissing them Wednesday.

No date for sentencing has yet been set.

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