Edmonton court hears accused's version of attack
A man on trial for killing a 13-year-old girl told RCMP he watched a group beat up and steal from a prostitute, but had nothing to do with the crime.
The judge hearing the case still has to decide if Joseph Laboucan's taped statements are admissible as evidence.
Michael Briscoe, 36, and Laboucan, 21, have been charged in the kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and first-degree murder of Nina Courtepatte, a 13-year-old girl they allegedly picked out of a crowd at West Edmonton Mall.
Her bruised and bloody body was found on the Edmonton Springs Golf Course in April 2005.
In the recording, Laboucan is seen being interviewed by an RCMP officer in the Stony Plain detachment on April 5,the day after the girl's body was found.
Laboucan's defence team has argued his charter rights were violated in the recorded interview session.
Laboucan says prostitute picked up
Laboucan was brought in on outstanding warrants for break and enter, but once in the interrogation room,Const. Robert Krooptells him he is also being arrested for murder.
"For murder? Are you serious?" asks Laboucan.
In the tape, theofficer allows Laboucan to leave and call a lawyer. After he returns, Laboucan eventuallytells the officer he and a group picked up a prostitute on 118th Avenue and took her out of town.
One of the other people he was with attacked her with a steel ratchet, he says.
"He hit her over the back of the head with it," Laboucan says. "They started, like, beating her up and they kicked her around and stuff, and they hit her over the head a few times. They took her money and then we left."
Laboucan tells the officer he could do nothing to help the woman because one of the others pulled a gun on him.
Laboucan didn't mention a 13-year-old girl or West Edmonton Mall during his statement. He told the officer he believed the prostitute wasa single mother.
Gang link alleged
He also suggests some ofthe people he was with were connected with a gang.
"That's my life right there," he said. "'Cause they have cops working for them, they have judges, they have lawyers, they have everything. You understand what I'm saying? From what I've just told you, I'm dead."
The tape was played in court Monday and five more hours wereexpected to be played Tuesday.
Briscoe and Laboucan are being tried before a judge alone in Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. The trial is expected to last a month.
Five people were charged inCourtepatte's death.
A 19-year-old man has already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
Two young women are also charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and first-degree murder, but haven't yet gone to trial. The women, teens at the time of the slaying, can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.