Final arguments heard in N.W.T. Mountie slaying
A Yellowknife jury is expected to start deliberating Wednesday on whether to convict an Alberta man in the shooting death of an RCMP officer two years ago in the Northwest Territories.
Emrah Bulatci, 25, faces a first-degree murder charge in the slaying of Const. Christopher Worden in the early-morning hours of Oct. 6, 2007, in Hay River, N.W.T.
The 12-member N.W.T. Supreme Court jury heard lawyers' final arguments Tuesday, at the end of a 3½-week trial in the N.W.T. capital.
Bulatci, who was in Hay River to sell drugs, has acknowledged shooting Worden, 30, four times early that morning. However, he has said the final two shots that killed the police officer were fired by accident.
His lawyers have asked the jury to convict Bulatci on the lesser charge of manslaughter, not first-degree murder.
"Who did it is not an issue. Emrah Bulatci did it. The ultimate question is what was his intent," Laura Stevens, Bulatci's lawyer, told the jury during closing arguments Tuesday.
"He swore to you that the last two shots were not fired on purpose."
Testimony matches expert evidence: defence
Stevens reminded the jury to remember the testimony of the forensic pathologist who examined Worden's body.
The pathologist testified that the first two bullets were fired towards Worden's lower body, and the third and fourth shots were fired while Worden was horizontal or nearly horizontal.
Bulatci testified last week that he was trying to flee Worden, but relaized he could not outrun the officer and intentionally fired toward Worden's lower body twice in an attempt to slow the officer down.
Bulatci said the gun went off twice more while he and Worden were struggling on the ground.
Stevens said Bulatci's testimony was the only version of events that is consistent with the expert evidence.
'Too good to be true': Crown
But Crown prosecutor John Cliffe argued that the defence theory boiled down to the notion that the first two shots were intentional but not fatal, while the last two shots were fatal but not intentional.
"It's too good to be true, because it's not true," Cliffe told the jury.
"These events are measured in seconds. Intent cannot magically disappear between first two shots and the last two shots. The only reasonable conclusion is he meant to cause the death of Const. Worden."
Cliffe argued that Bulatci was desperate enough to shoot at Worden twice to escape being caught with an illegal handgun he had brought to Hay River.
Bulatci would have been even more desperate to escape after Worden survived the first two shots and continued chasing him, then struggled to grab the handgun from Bulatci.
"Even if it could be argued the trigger was pulled unintentionally during the struggle, it could maybe explain one shot," Cliffe told the jury. "But you have two shots."
Cliffe added that Bulatci has lied many times about his long criminal past, suggesting Bulatci is not above lying under oath.
With files from Janice Johnston