Victim in Kamloops motel murder died from blunt force trauma, strangulation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Victim in Kamloops motel murder died from blunt force trauma, strangulation

FILE PHOTO - A police vehicle is pictured in this August 27, 2016, photo near a dumpster at the Super 8 motel in Aberdeen.
February 05, 2020 - 1:19 PM


The victim in a Kamloops murder case died from a combination of injuries, court heard today in the first-degree murder trial of David Albert Miller.

Miller is charged with one count of murder after the body of 52-year-old Debra Novacluse was found by motel cleaning staff wrapped in a sleeping bag underneath a blood-stained mattress in a Super 8 motel in August 2016. 

Today, Feb. 5, Kamloops forensic pathologist Dr. Lisa Steele — an expert witness in the Crown’s case — described the injuries and cause of Novacluse’s death.

READ MORE: Police officer found 'heavily injured' body, court hears in Kamloops motel murder trial

Novacluse sustained several injuries caused by blunt force trauma, and asphyxiation or strangulation, Steele testified.

Steele described multiple injuries to Novacluse including fractures to her ribs, swelling in her brain, extensive bruising and abrasions to her neck and head, lips, chest, legs and vaginal tearing.

Court also heard the right side of Novacluse’s face was severely swollen and bruised compared to the left. Steele described the right eye and eyelid as “very hemorrhagic”.

READ MORE: Court hears how Kamloops murder victim spent final hours

Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg asked Steele if blunt force trauma can be created by an individual punching another individual. Steele said yes but couldn’t estimate how many punches it would take to create the bruises Novacluse sustained.

An examination of Novacluse’s organs determined there was no additional natural disease that would have accounted for her death, Steele said.

The pathologist added she was not able to pinpoint the exact cause of death and said it was likely a combination of the injuries Novacluse suffered by blunt force trauma and strangulation.

She also noted the blunt force trauma to her head was “significant.”

Miller pleaded not guilty on Jan. 13. RCMP arrested Miller in Ontario on Sept. 1, 2016.

Crown counsel is expected to close its case today.

For past stories on David Albert Miller's trial, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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