This row of apartment contains the suite Alpheus Burns was killed in. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski
The picture of the events leading up to, during, and after the killing of 70-year-old Alpheus Burns are starting to come clear at the jury trial for his accused murderer, Candace Moostoos.
Evidence so far in the four days of the trial has included a video police statement from Moostoos. The statement was recorded in the Melfort RCMP detachment, dated the day after Burns’ death on May 17, 2015.
In the video Moostoos says her relatives Justin Burns, Chief of James Smith Cree Nation, and Alvin Moostoos, band councillor, accompanied her as she turned herself in.
The video is longer than two hours, and Candace tells the RCMP Major Crimes officer “I have nothing to hide.”
She also says she started doing crystal meth for the first time ever eight days earlier and hadn’t slept in six or seven days.
In the video, Candace says she had been drinking with friends the day before and gone to Alpheus’ place hoping to “butter him up” so he’d spot her some cash or lend his car. She was “half cut” and in a good mood when she arrived, Candace says.
She recalls walking past Alpheus while he sat at his kitchen table, and him grabbing her crotch aggressively.
She had been aiming to get $40 from him and says she had told him if he had money “let’s get something going.” Alpheus offered $10 for oral sex and Candace refused, she says.
That’s when Alpheus got angry, implying he had given her AIDs during recent encounters, she says. The most recent had been two weeks earlier.
She had been cleaning her nails with a knife, and “I just lost it I guess,” she says.
She says the two had a sexual history, which Candace says involves molestation when she was a little girl. When he made her mad, memories of that came back, she says.
The more details Candace gets into in the video, the more she curls up in the chair with her legs drawn into herself.
She describes remembering “piercing” him only once but seeing three or four stab wounds, which had hit his heart. She knew Alpheus wouldn’t recover, and watched him for about five minutes or so, Candace says.
Everything happened within 18 to 20 minutes, she says, and then she took Tiffany Whitehead and her partner Evan Head, as well as Evan’s sister Patricia Head, on a drive to get beer from Kinistino.
In Head’s testimony on Thursday, he said Candace showed them the knife then threw it out the window while driving down grid roads from Melfort.
Head said while Candace was driving wildly, she said “that she might have killed someone.”
Evan and Whitehead testified they got drunk during the day with Moostoos and headed to the apartment block in Melfort where Burns lived.
There are mixed recollections of Moostoos’ behavior before and after the time that she went to Burns’ home.
Evan said she seemed angry and was swearing beforehand, and afterwards seemed “kind of angry” while in the car. Whitehead recalled Moostoos as being “happy and drunk” both before and after.
Patricia, however, said Moostoos seemed “distant and not herself” earlier, and while in the car “still quiet and also pissed off” because she’d gotten kicked out of a friend’s home in that apartment block.
None of the evidence presented has been proven in court.
Crown testimony continues on Friday. It’s expected defence will start presenting its evidence on Monday.
Day 1 of the trial has been covered here:
|Moostoos trial testimony delayed by Crown objection to defence questions|
Details from Day 2 of the trial are here:
|Testimony from first two witnesses wraps in Melfort murder trial