Peter Kingwatsiak guilty of 1st-degree murder of stepbrother

Peter Kingwatsiak has been found guilty of killing Mappaluk Adla in Cape Dorset in September 2010.

Defence had argued for charge to be reduced to manslaughter

Peter Kingwatsiak leaves the Iqaluit courthouse last June during his murder trial, flanked by a police officer. (Nick Murray/CBC)

Peter Kingwatsiak has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his stepbrother.

Kingwatsiak shot and killed Mappaluk Adla in Cape Dorset in September 2010. 

His lawyer had argued the murder charge should be reduced to manslaughter because Kingwatsiak was high on gasoline fumes at the time of the homicide.

"The question in this trial is whether or not Peter Kingwatsiak had the state of mind required for murder," wrote Nunavut Justice Bonnie Tulloch in her reason for judgment released Friday by the Nunavut Court of Justice.

"This court finds beyond a reasonable doubt that Peter Kingwatsiak not only had the capacity to form the intent required for murder, but he also intended his actions when he shot and killed Mappaluk Adla on Sept. 20, 2010."

Attack on uncle

During the trial, Kingwatsiak testified he awoke at 3 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, went to his grandfather's boat and sniffed gasoline until he became numb. After taking another hit, he said he walked to his uncle Manu Kingwatsiak's house, taking a .22-calibre rifle with him, and stopping along the way to sniff gas from a Honda bike.

He said he blacked out, only to regain consciousness while he was stabbing his uncle. 

Kingwatsiak was also found guilty of aggravated assault for that attack, but not guilty on a charge of break and enter into his uncle's home.

"Immediately after the attack on his uncle, the accused had the presence of mind to look for and to find the .22 calibre rifle which he picked up and took with him to the Adla residence," Tulloch wrote in her decision.

"I find that the accused's level of intoxication following the attack on Manu Kingwatsiak had been significantly reduced by the time he shot and killed [Adla]."

First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years.