Accused in 13-year-old girl's death testifies
A man accused of sexually assaulting and killing a 13-year-old girl told court Friday that he was in a fog for about two weeks after her death.
Joseph Laboucan, one of two men on trial in Edmonton for first-degree murder in the death of Nina Courtepatte, said his memory was limited, similar to remembering clips from a movie.
"Everything from the time when I was out there is like an old picture," the 21-year-old said. "It's like clips. It jumps.
"There are certain parts I'm sure I remember and parts I don't."
Laboucan testified at a voir dire hearing to determine if videotaped statements he gave police will be accepted into evidence for the trial, which is being held before a judge alone.
Also on trial is Michael Briscoe, 36. Both have been charged with the kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and first-degree murder of Courtepatte.
Her bruised and bloody body was found on the Edmonton Springs Golf Course in April 2005.
Three youths have also been charged in her death, with one male pleading guilty and two teenage girls having yet to go to trial.
'I lied to him. I wanted to get out of the room'
On Friday, Laboucan told the court that Briscoe threatened to kill anyone who said anything about Courtepatte's death. He testified he remembers lying in Briscoe's hotel room, shaking and terrified.
Laboucantestified he doesn't remember the officer reading him his rights when he was arrested days later.
During the first of two interviews with police, he didn't really understand his right to remain silent, nor did he realize he could stop the interview at any time and talk to a lawyer, he said. Whenhe did talk to a lawyer, he didn't understand what the lawyer had told him, he said.
During the second interview, Laboucan said he just told the officer what he seemed to want to hear, hoping to get away from the questioning go see his girlfriend.
"He was telling me a bunch of stuff and I went off of what he had said. I lied to him. I wanted to get out of the room."
During that interview, Laboucan tearfully wrote out a confession to "taking part in the murder of Nina on last Saturday night." He denied raping her or coming up with the idea.
Laboucan said it took about two weeks for his mind to begin to accept what had happened.
By that time, he had been arrested and charged with Courtepatte's murder. He said he broke down in the remand centre and was sent to a psychiatric ward.
"I just started crying," Laboucan testified Friday. "I hit the ground. Everything became real at that point.
"It hit me hard and they ended up putting me in the psychiatric ward."
Fled an abusive home in B.C.
Laboucan also offered a glimpse of his background.
He said he fled an abusive home in Fort St. John., B.C., at age 13. He lived on Edmonton's streets for two years, taking drugs and eating and sleeping where he could.
After nearly being poisoned by contaminated crystal meth, he quit the streets and headed home, he said.
He hadn't done drugs for more than a year when Courtepatte was killed, he said. He had returned to Edmonton to pick up a settlement cheque from a work accident in which he'd broken his back.
He still has several health problems, as well asepilepsy, attention deficit disorder and trouble processing information quickly, he testified.
With files from the Canadian Press