Pond Inlet man sentenced to life in prison for killing aunt

·2 min read
The Nunavut Court of Justice, where Tommy Mucpa was recently convicted of second-degree murder. (David Gunn/CBC - image credit)
The Nunavut Court of Justice, where Tommy Mucpa was recently convicted of second-degree murder. (David Gunn/CBC - image credit)

A man from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, has been handed a life sentence for killing his aunt in 2017.

Tommy Mucpa, who was 25 at the time he was charged, was found guilty on Tuesday of second-degree murder.

According to a sentencing decision from Nunavut Court Justice Paul Bychok, Mucpa went into a "homicidal rage"  on July 3, 2017, after finding his aunt, Dorcas Erkloo, asleep in a tent with his mother's boyfriend. When he came across her alone on the land soon after, he attacked and killed her.

After the attack, Mucpa called the RCMP detachment in Pond Inlet to confess his crime. That day and the next, he made eight further confessions and statements.

Police announced the charge against him on July 4, 2017.

Mucpa's defence lawyer, Julie Bedford, had argued Mucpa should be found guilty of manslaughter instead of murder because of a combination of mental illness and intoxication. That combination should raise doubt about Mucpa's ability to form the intent to commit murder, Bedford argued.

Mucpa has a history of mental illness and was diagnosed in 2006 with a psychotic disorder. He had stopped taking his medication in the four months leading up to the murder.

However, by piecing together testimony from various witnesses, including two men who were with Mucpa that day, Bychok found Mucpa was not significantly intoxicated when he killed his aunt. Bychok's decision also references audio recordings and transcripts from shortly after the murder where Mucpa detailed how he killed Erkloo.

"I am satisfied that Mr. Mucpa had a cognitively operating mind on July 3, that he appreciated the nature and consequences of his actions, and that he knew they were legally wrong," Bychok wrote.

Bychok also found there was an element of planning involved in the crime, since Mucpa "had significant time to mull over" what he had seen in the tent, before attacking Erkloo.

The court will decide at a later date how long Mucpa must remain in prison before he is eligible for parole. The normal parole eligibility point for second-degree murder sentences varies between 10 and 25 years.

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