Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in 2017 death of Greg Dawson in Whitehorse

·2 min read

A Whitehorse woman has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2017 slaying of Greg Dawson.

Connie Peggy Thorn, 52, entered her plea in Yukon Supreme Court Wednesday morning.

Dawson, a 45-year-old citizen of Ta'an Kwäch'än Council, was found beaten to death in a Riverdale apartment on April 6, 2017.

Thorn was arrested two and a half years later on Oct. 16, 2019. She was originally charged with second-degree murder.

'Loud banging sound,' and later, sobbing

According to admissions of fact Crown attorney Noel Sinclair read to the court, Thorn and Dawson were in a relationship and living together in a basement apartment on Alsek Road.

Thorn called 911 shortly before 9:30 p.m. on April 6, 2017, Sinclair said, telling the dispatcher that she had returned home about 20 minutes earlier and discovered Dawson dead on the kitchen floor.

Thorn told the dispatcher Dawson looked "beat up" and that his death may have been related to his history of seizures.

Police arrived and found Dawson's body, with his hands and face covered in blood. A forensic examination of the apartment also found "blood staining in most of the rooms in the house."

Thorn originally told police she had been out all day and had not seen Dawson since the night before, when she claimed he had unexpectedly left the apartment while she was sleeping.

She also told investigators she had spent April 6 "wandering around Whitehorse" looking for him because she was concerned about his well-being, according to the admissions, but did not call any of Dawson's family members, friends, police or the hospital.

Ta'an Kwach'an Council
Ta'an Kwach'an Council

Thorn's story was contradicted by an upstairs neighbour, who told investigators they'd overheard Thorn and Dawson fighting during the day, a "loud banging sound" and then the sounds of Thorn sobbing in the early afternoon.

One of Dawson's relatives also called Thorn the evening of April 6 looking for him, but Thorn told her he wasn't home.

An autopsy found a number of recent, serious blunt-force trauma injuries to Dawson's head and torso that caused his death.

"Ms. Thorn admits that she lost her self-control and assaulted Mr. Dawson using excessive force, resulting in Mr. Dawson's death," the admissions read.

The admissions say Thorn was "intoxicated from her consumption of vodka and cider" at the time and "acted in the heat of passion."

Guilty plea accepted

Yukon Supreme Court Justice Edith Campbell accepted Thorn's guilty plea, noting she was too intoxicated to have formed the intent for murder. However, she said, a reasonable person would have known Thorn's actions would cause "non-trivial harm" to Dawson.

A number of Dawson's family members were in court for the proceedings but declined to speak to the CBC afterwards.

Thorn's sentencing hearing is scheduled for April.