A youth charged with second-degree murder in the 2017 death of a 12-year-old boy in Rankin Inlet told a friend he did it because he was bored, a witness testified in court Monday in Iqaluit.
The witness alleged that, at a party in July 2017 — before the victim’s severely beaten body was found in a trailer on a freight-handling business’s property — the accused told him how he killed the boy.
“At first, he said he beat him up with a rock, his face was messed up. Then he said he stabbed him, then he put him in the trailer, then he said he put him away,” said the witness whose name cannot be published because he was under 18 at the time of the incident.
“He said he was bored,” the witness said of the motive of the accused.
The identify of the accused is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The court has also imposed a ban on identifying the young victim.
The victim’s body was discovered July 7, 2017, by community members on a search and rescue mission, after the boy had been missing for days.
On Oct. 7, 2018, police charged Glen Kadlak Jr., now 25, with second-degree murder, and charged a youth with the same offence five days later.
A pathologist’s report listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma.
On Monday morning, the witness told the court the accused told him he had blood on his face from hitting the victim with the rock and that he washed it off in the ocean.
“He said it felt good,” the witness said.
The witness testified the accused killer warned that if he told anyone about the confession, “something bad is gonna happen.”
The witness said because he was concerned for his own safety and that of his family, it wasn’t until September 2018 that he told his school guidance counsellor about the confession, which led to a statement to the RCMP shortly after.
In his cross-examination, defence lawyer Scott Cowan asked the witness how much marijuana and alcohol he consumed at the party that night, and questioned his ability to recollect the accused’s confession.
The witness said he and others at the party were consuming drugs and alcohol in between pick-up games at the basketball court, and also played drinking games the night of the alleged confession.
The witness estimated he smoked one gram of marijuana through a bong over the course of the evening, and drank a cup of mixed alcohol.
He said he did not black out, but that others around him did.
“Each time you would go back and forth, you would get more stoned … and you were also drinking alcohol,” Cowan said, to which the witness replied that he sobered up between games.
The witness testified that the first time he heard the victim’s body had been wrapped up was from the people who discovered it in July 2017.
In a statement to police in September 2018, the witness told investigators the accused had said he wrapped the victim’s body up, Cowan said.
However, the body had not been found wrapped and the witness was confusing what he allegedly heard from the accused with what he was told by other people, Cowan said.
“I’m going to suggest to you that [the accused] never said ‘wrapped’ to you,” Cowan said.
“You’re high and you’re drunk at the time of this conversation. You don’t talk about this conversation for 14 months, do you? You never mention it to anybody, you never made any notes,” Cowan said.
The witness appeared to have difficulty remembering some elements of what the accused allegedly told him.
He testified, for example, that he saw the victim the day before the party and that the confession happened before the victim’s body was found.
The witness testified that his mother told him the victim was missing, but that he wasn’t concerned because kids often spend a few days out with their friends.
But Cowan said that in the witness’s September 2018 statement to police, he told investigators the party had happened three days after the body was found.
“It does not make sense that you would believe [the victim] was missing but probably OK, then you find out he’s been brutally murdered by [the accused] and you go inside and play drinking games,” Cowan said, to which the witness agreed.
During cross-examination, the witness said he was lost, confused, and spoke of his level of ability to recall what he said to who and when. The witness said he remembered most but not all of the details of the conversation.
“You’re putting together what you think happened to [the victim],” Cowan said.
The trial, being held in front of a judge alone, continues Tuesday when lawyers for the Crown and the accused are expected to make their closing statements.
Kadlak, who testified earlier in his co-accused’s trial, is scheduled to be in court next on Sept. 26.
David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News