November 13, 2012 - 6:17 PM
The young woman accused of stabbing 16-year-old Ashlee Hyatt to death told a B.C. Supreme Court jury that she did not kill her and pinned the blame on another girl.
Before a packed but hushed courtroom Tuesday and under brisk cross-examination from Crown Counsel Murray Kaay, the defendant denied her alleged role in Hyatt's death. Instead, she claimed that Hyatt and the other girl ganged up on her outside a drinking party in Peachland on June 2, 2010. In the ensuing three-way melee, she testified, the other girl stabbed Hyatt, causing her to bleed to death.
Kaay peppered the defendant with suggestions that she, herself, was guilty.
Kaay: "I suggest that you took the knife out of your purse."
Kaay: "I suggest that you stood 6 to 8 feet away from Ashlee Hyatt when you did so."
Defendant: "Absolutely not."
Kaay: "I suggest that you held up the knife, waved it and said, 'I'll stab you."
Defendant: "I disagree."
Kaay: "I suggest you caused these injuries to Ashlee Hyatt."
Defendant: " No. I did not."
Kaay: "You're saying that you did not stab Ashlee Hyatt."
Defendant: "I did not stab Ashlee Hyatt."
The defendant, whose name along with the identities of many others at the party cannot be revealed because they were minors at the time, denied having brought the knife in question to the party, as others have testified.
She said the first time she'd seen the knife was when it was in another girl's right hand immediately after Hyatt collapsed on the ground during the fight. The trio scuffled, said the accused, when Hyatt and the other girl attempted to physically separate the accused from her boyfriend. The accused and her boyfriend were engaged in a disagreement stemming from a rumour that the defendant had kissed another boy at the party.
The defendant said she was "irritated" that Hyatt and the other girl broke into a private matter. She testified that they called her derogatory, profane names. Pushes and punches followed. The defendant said she felt "ganged-up against." During the fight, the accused said, Hyatt collapsed and the unnamed girl was holding the knife.
"I saw (Hyatt) on the ground," she said. "I saw (the other girl) holding the knife."
The defendant, charged with second-degree murder, denied earlier testimony by others who said they saw her holding the knife after Hyatt collapsed. The accused countered that she took the knife from the other girl after having wrestled her to the ground and prying the knife from her hand.
The accused said she fought with the unnamed girl out of self-defence.
"She just kept coming back," the accused said. "She was relentless. She had a weird look in her eyes. She looked crazy to me."
The defendant said she kicked the girl in the stomach in self-defence.
"I just wanted her to back off," she said.
It was then, the accused testified, that others at the party saw the knife in her own hand and deduced that she must have stabbed Hyatt. The accused said she checked on Hyatt before others pushed her away.
In a chaotic scene, party-goers flooded the street from the house to see what had happened. They saw the accused holding the knife, the defendant testified, and accused her of the stabbing.
"I only wanted to see if she was OK," she said, tears streaming down her face. "Everybody was yelling at me, 'You did this; you killed her.' I didn't do anything. There's no way I did this."
The accused said she left the scene for a friend's house because others told her to leave "if you want to live." She spent about an hour at the fiend's house before she called her mother, who picked her up and took her home.
"Everything was confused," the defendant said. "I don't know what was happening. Everything was confused."
The accused took issue with testimony by others that she kissed a boy at the party who was not her boyfriend. Instead, she said, the boy came on to her on a couch at the party, flirting with her and and touching her leg. The accused said she left the couch with no further physical contact.
Under cross-examination, the accused said she and other friends had spent the afternoon of the the party riding 4x4s and drinking whisky straight out of the bottle. The accused admitted to three or four shots of whisky that afternoon and three or four more at the party. She said she was aware that her voice was louder than usual, but that she was in control of herself at the party.
"I was drunk," she testified, "but I've been drunker."
The trial continues Wednesday.
InfoTel News reporter John Sleeper is at the Kelowna Law Courts and will file a full report.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012