Pitseolak Peter guilty of manslaughter in death of Kathy Michael

Pitseolak Peter was found guilty of manslaughter Friday in the death of his common-law spouse Kathy Michael in Iqaluit.

Iqaluit judge reduces charge from 2nd-degree murder

Iqaluit man found guilty of manslaughter 1:33

Pitseolak Peter has been found guilty of manslaughter in the death of his common-law spouse Kathy Michael in Iqaluit.

Justice John Rooke handed down the verdict in court in Iqaluit Friday.

Peter, 52, had been charged with second-degree murder in Micahel's death.

On Feb. 3, 2013, police were called to their residence around 8 p.m. They found Michael naked and unconscious in the bathtub. Her eyes were swollen shut, she had a burn on her face and her body was bruised.

There were three specific points of impact in the house where a large amount of Michael's blood was found: on the radiator in the bedroom, on the wall and the bedroom door.

Michael died two weeks later in an Ottawa hospital.

Testifying in court on Thursday, Peter said he never hurt Michael. He told the court he remembers waking up drunk and seeing Michael on the floor with her face against the radiator in the bedroom. He says he then dragged her to the bathroom. This was inconsistent with what he initially told police — that he woke up and she was already in the bathtub. 

Peter also said he and Michael had been drinking heavily for several days prior to the incident.

The Crown had said Peter was coherent enough to know what he was doing, like cleaning up blood around the house. But Peter's lawyer argued the evidence did not prove that he killed Kathy Michael.

Justice Rooke said Peter's intoxication level prevented him from knowing the assault would cause bodily harm and would lead to Michael's death. But he said her injuries were extensive and that the assault was anything but an accident.

Lawyers in the case are expected to make sentencing submissions on Sept.12.